The Natchitoches Parish School Board voted to set up the district for success in the future at its meeting on March 15 by approving a new salary schedule, which will be effective on July 1.
This is the first time in 14 years that the salary schedule has been adjusted. The old version, which was simply readopted by the board in 2010, consisted of 22 pages of schedules. The biggest problem with it was when an employee moved from one schedule to another (teacher to principal) they started over at “0 years.” Even though the promotion means more pay, these employees were dropped to the bottom of the ranks according to the schedule. This made many employees feel like they lost the value of how long they’ve been a teacher in the district.
To remove this negative connotation the new system has five schedules with multipliers for school administrators and central office staff.
Finance Director Lee Waskom explained that this new schedule system brings the Natchitoches school district up to the market value of what teachers are being paid in the surrounding areas.
Natchitoches is currently 24th regarding its pay schedules and this change will put the district in the top 10 for average pay.
The best part is that the $3 million, including benefits, for this new pay schedule has been accounted for, will require no additional taxes, is not federally based and is sustainable.
Of the total amount, $533,000 will be paid through federal programs (Title I and Title II for example).
The district also discovered it was underreporting Medicaid reimbursements, so with that corrected there is $1.1 million the district will be able to collect from now on (only reporting $564,000 in the past). Waskom is also set to attend a Louisiana Association of School Business Officials conference on March 24 to learn more about Medicaid reporting/reimbursements to learn how to find even more funding.
Another $1.8 million was found by spending time with the central office staff and scrubbing the books and discovering more efficient operations.
The bottom line is that the district decided to pass these savings back to the staff.
“We could’ve just banked this money,” Waskom explained. “Our intention was to acknowledge the years of hard work our staff puts in and to set us up for success in the future, so all students in the district can have the opportunity to perform better.”
The district will also introduce coaching stipend multipliers, so if a coach and assistant coach take their team to the playoffs, if they win district, and if they win state, they will receive incentives. These will help recruit a whole new quality of coaches and retain the great coaches already working within the district.
In the same vein of staff recruitment and retention, the board approved a one-time Covid Compensation for all NPSB employees and approved a relocation stipend for difficult to staff schools.
Other agenda items included:
- Approve removing the masking mandates on buses.
- Approve advertising for bids for the construction of an NPSB Educational Technology Center.
- Approve advertisement of bids for the sale of Cloutierville property and land as is.
- Grant permission to advertise for new facilities equipment at NCHS currently under construction.
- Grant permission to advertise for bids for cell phone towers on district property.
- Approve the updated budget adjustments as presented (see document below).
- Approve title change of Director of Academics to Director of Teaching and Learning.
- Approve job description for Teaching and Learning Specialists (see documents below).
- Approve job description for Interest and Opportunity Specialist (see document below).