One-year employee raises upheld by school board

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 21, 1999

ERIK SANZENBACH / L’Observateur / November 21, 1999

RESERVE – The issue of school employee raises was brought up again at the regular meeting of the St. John School Board Thursday evening, andagain the board voted to keep the 3 percent raise for certified teachers and 2 percent increase for other school employees.

Despite the fact that the board voted Nov. 8 to give teachers a 3 percentone-time raise and other school employees a 2 percent one-time raise, the president of the St. John Association of Educators, Herman Clayton,wanted to know which teachers were qualified to get the raise, and he objected to the word “raise” and wanted the language to be changed to say that school employees got a salary supplement.

Later in the meeting, board member Matthew Ory made a motion to re- consider the wage issue. When that was passed, Ory than made a motion toclear up what teachers get the 3 percent raise.

Ory’s motion called for certified teachers, speech therapists, librarians and disciplinarians to all benefit from the 3 percent hike in salary. He saidthis would cost the system $139,109 in a one-time raise.

Clayton said he was not opposed to the motion but wanted the board to see that temporary certified teachers and Circular 665 teachers also get the one-time increase.

“They are also teachers and covered by state law,” Clayton told the board.

However, Ory said the school system needs to award the certified teachers in order to keep the certified teachers the system has and to attract more certified teachers.

“It is vital that we get certified teachers,” said Ory, “and we can only do it with money.”C.J. Watkins took issue with Ory’s motion. He said since it was a one-timeincrease, it wouldn’t attract anybody.

“Anyone who is hired after this increase will not get a raise,” chided Watkins.

He reiterated his stand from the last special meeting.

“Accountability is the issue here,” Watkins said. ” If we don’t hold theseteachers accountable, all the degrees and certificates in the world won’t help.”However, Watkins said that since temporary certified teachers are included in the state budget they should be entitled to the raise. Heamended Ory’s motion to include certified teachers in the 3 percent salary increase.

School Board President Richard DeLong then asked if the Circular 665 teachers shouldn’t also be included in the motion.

Superintendent Chris Donaldson said the Circular 665 teachers are hired only when certified and temporary certified teachers cannot be found.

Since they are not certified they remain at the lowest rate of pay for a minimum of five years, or until they get their certification.

Also, according to Human Resources Director Alfred Donaldson, Circular 665 teachers are only hired on a one-year contract basis and are usually hired during the first day of the school year.

School Board attorney John Diaselliss said Circular 665 teachers are not certified by the state and therefore don’t fall into the same category as the temporary certified teachers.

Clayton said the SJAE wants any employee who had contact with a student in a classroom or in an instructional environment to get the 3 percent raise, and this included the temporary certified teachers and the Circular 665 instructors.

The amended ordinance was voted on, and even though the vote was 5-4 in favor the amended ordinance did not pass because there were only 10 board members present and a majority of six yea votes was needed to pass.

Voting for the amended ordinance was Watkins, Dowie Gendron, Patrick Sanders, Gerald Keller and Felix LeBoeuf. Voting against were Ory, DeLong,James Madere and John Crose. Clarence Triche abstained, and LeroyMitchell was absent from the meeting.

Ory’s original motion was voted on and passed unanimously.

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