St. John School Board approves $3K raise for teachers, 3% raise for all other personnel

Published 3:13 pm Wednesday, July 6, 2022

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LAPLACE — During a special meeting Tuesday evening, the St. John the Baptist Parish School Board approved a $3,000 raise for all teachers, certified and non-certified, as well as a 3% raise for all other personnel.

Chief Financial Officer Jawanza Joseph said the 3% raise will be a minimum of $1,000 and a maximum of $2,000.

The district raises approved this week are separate from the state raises that were already included in the salary schedule adopted in June. State raises include $1,500 for certified teachers/staff and $750 for support personnel.

With both district and state raises taken into account, certified teachers will receive the highest pay increase at $4,500. All employees will receive $1,750 or more.

Full-time employees in St. John Parish Public Schools also received a one-time $500 raise in April 2022 and will receive another $500 installment in November 2022 from ESSER funding awarded during the COVID-19 pandemic. An additional $500 payment is being considered for October 2022 but has not yet received approval.

According to Joseph, the $3,000 raise for teachers and the 3% raise for all other personnel will cost the School District around $2.1 million.

Interim Superintendent Rebecca Johnson said the district is looking to fill approximately 40 teacher vacancies.

“It’s a great day in St. John the Baptist Parish to see that teachers are finally getting what they deserve for all of their hard work and dedication throughout these challenging times,” Johnson said.

School Board President Nia Mitchell-Williams was happy to see the raises approved Tuesday night.

“I’ve been on the board for five years, and we haven’t given anything in five years,” she said. “I’m just glad that we are here and that we’re in a place where we can give to our teachers and our entire staff. We need staff in all capacities to run schools.”

School Board member Gerald Keller said the raises will keep St. John Parish Public Schools competitive with districts in neighboring parishes and around the state.

“Do you have an idea where we’ve moved up on the pole?” Keller asked Joseph during Tuesday’s meeting.

“I think we were ranking around No. 5, but there have been several districts that have given raises since that information was released,” Joseph answered. “We should now be closer to No. 3.”

School Board member Debbie Schum said the raises approved this week are only the beginning, and there is still much work to be done when it comes to making the salary schedule competitive.

“The initial proposal from the Salary Study Committee that the Board passed tonight is to make sure that we have something in place so our employees know we want to make the salaries better,” Schum said. “We have not fixed all of the problems that are in the salary schedule, but we felt the first move we made was the one that was going to make the biggest difference, specifically with certified teachers, so we could help with hiring people prior to school starting. We also wanted to make sure we retain the people who are here.”

Schum added that salary schedules for some positions are still lagging behind what other districts are paying. The salary study and finance committees will soon examine salaries for assistant principals, nurses and counselors.

Bus drivers were identified as another area of need in light of staffing shortages. School Board member Ali Burl said janitors’ salaries also need to be looked at.