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Baton Rouge area school employees close to $500 payment

October 6, 2018

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — School employees in the Baton Rouge area are one step closer to getting an extra $500 dollars in an upcoming paycheck.

The Advocate reported the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board gave preliminary approval Thursday to give its roughly 5,000 full-time employees the extra money.

If it gets final approval during the board’s Oct. 18 meeting, the money will come in their last paycheck before Thanksgiving.

The money comes from a special fund to support employee salaries and benefits with a portion of a 1-cent sales tax earmarked for education. Superintendent Warren Drake said he considered recommending a similar one-time payment last year after a sales tax windfall due to rebuilding expenses from the August 2016 floods but he wanted to make sure tax collections remained stable. This year he decided it was time.

“Our teachers and employees deserve this. So we’re very happy to recommend it,” he said.

The one-time payout will cost roughly $3.9 million. It will be paid on Nov. 21.

Teacher unions and other advocates for school employees have for the past year urged the board to increase pay for school employees.

Tia Mills, president of the East Baton Rouge Association of Educators, welcomed the extra money but she said that didn’t necessarily solve the pay problems. She was upset that a special salary committee, which began meeting in June, was disbanded. She said part of the committee’s work had been to find more money for a permanent pay raise and to start pegging pay to inflation.

“The $500 will not buy our silence,” Mills said. “We will continue to speak out on this issue.”

Drake said the salary committee was focused on redoing employee salary schedules and that it was disbanded because that was accomplished.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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