St. John school board to pay former employees all vacation pay

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Staff Reporter

RESERVE- Earlier this school year, the St. John the Baptist Parish School Board considered a revision in attendance and leave policy that would make changes to the way that vacation pay was accruedand ditriubted. The board revisited the policy to approve the changes when it was determined, by a team of legal consultants, that the board had addressed the new policy, but never officially adopted it.

Patrick Sanders was outraged that school board legal counselors had not found that the board had overlooked the fact that they had talked about the policy, but never officially adopted it.

&#8220There really should be no excuses for us to have this problem when we have legal advisors to help us determine whether or not we are doing things correctly at board meetings and a consulting team had to come in to find the error. I am embarrassed that this happened and we were made fools of. The rest of you should be too,” Sanders said.

A consulting team comes in periodically to audit and review the meeting minutes on a regular, but infrequent basis.

The policy was amended and approved to include a provision that states that should an employee choose to sever his employment, the board must pay the employee for all vacation days accrued regardless of the $10,000 limit put in place previously. The leave and attendance policy passed 8-1 with board member Albert Burl, III, voting no, Russel Jack abstaining and Dowie Gendron, absent.

Also in a briefing of health insurance renewal costs, the board voted 10-0 to accept bids for a new group health care plan when United Health Care planned to increase insurance premiums by 27.3 percent in the coming year.

In new business, a report on the Redirection School and Leon Goudchaux School addressed the two programs’ effectiveness in bringing students back into the fold to attend regular school after instructing these students in the special programs.

Brenda Butler, head of 9-12 education, said that the Redirection School had a total of 154 students enrolled at the school, but gave no indication of how successful the program is. The Redirection School provides student who have been expelled from regular school the opportunity to stay in school and improve behavior over a 9-weeks period to be able to return.

Superintendent Coburn said he believes the school is about 50% successful and that the school system will be looking for ways for the program to be changed for more successful results.

On the other hand, Leon Goudchaux School presented numbers which signify that the program is doing well. According to a report the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 school year saw 2/3 of the students enrolled in the school pass LEAP tests and were promoted to their correct grades, while in the current class at Leon Goudchaux, 50% are accelerating.