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School board will discuss paying negotiating team

By Rebecca Burk / L’Observateur / May 6, 1998

RESERVE – Negotiating team members are hoping for the best Thursday night when St. John the Baptist Parish School Board members discuss thepossibility of paying them for the hundreds of hours they spent discussing the union contract.

Seven school board negotiators discussed the employees’ contract with negotiators from the St. John Association of Educators for over 200 hourseach over an eight-month span.

“And that was only after hours,” Felix Boughton, chief negotiator, said.

Sometimes the negotiations went into the early hours of the morning.

“It was a lot of late hours,” Boughton said. “Midnight and 2 o’clock in themorning many times.”None of the seven members were paid any overtime compensation by the board.

“It was forgotten about with some board members, but I didn’t forget because I believe in treating everyone fairly,” board member Aleitha Bardell said.

The team was made up of school board office management, Boughton said.

Other members were Wilbert Ocmond, director of elementary education; Ann LeBorde, pupil appraisal coordinator; Alfred Donaldson, director of personnel; Herbert Smith, Title I coordinator; Terry Charles, food services director; and Johnny Owens, transportation supervisor.

Board members Bardell and Gerald Keller will recommend to the school board Thursday night that team members be given some sort of compensation, following a recommendation of the salary amount by Superintendent Cleveland Farlough.

The board meeting will be in the Godchaux Grammar Cafeteria in Reserve at 6 p.m. “In my opinion the negotiating team was meeting and negotiating for the school board, and they were doing such an outstanding job without any complaining and they were staying after midnight,” Bardell said. “Isuggested to the board in an executive session that we do something for them. Dr. Keller was the only one that agreed. And the board took noaction.”Bardell said the negotiating team saved the school board about $50,000.

“They saved us a lot of money, and others are getting paid,” Bardell said referring to employees who are getting paid for more than one job.

At the past board meetings, school board administrators and board members have bickered about overtime pay.

But Bardell thinks if people realize the school board is trying to save money they will be more prone to pass the upcoming millage election that would give employees a raise.

“If they aren’t compensated I don’t think it will be a good taste for the millage,” she said. “It would be in the best interest to give themcompensation.”Boughton, as well as other negotiating team members, are only waiting until Thursday night to see if their efforts are recognized.

“That’s going to be up to the superintendent and the board,” Boughton said.

“We’ll just have to wait and see.”

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