The West Baton Rouge School Board, on Wednesday, May 21, decided to increase all school system employees’ pay by $830.
During the monthly school board meeting, the board voted to allow an across-the-board raise to school employees, which, according to WBR Superintendent David Corona, will help the parish to be more competitive for employment within the school system.
“We are still competitive in the marketplace, but we need a little boost,” Corona said during the meeting Wednesday night. “To be quite honest, we’re a little bit more than $2,000 behind East Baton Rouge Parish. But we have, in my opinion, a better working environment than that.”
Corona said in 2005-06, the parish saw what he called an “exodus of good teachers” leave from WBR schools due to the higher pay in other areas nearby.
“I do not want to get into that situation again,” He said. “I asked Jared (Gibbs, supervisor of business services) to see if we could do something that he felt comfortable with and it tip the pay scale.”
Gibbs said that the $830 pay increase will effect all full-time school employees, from the central office to teachers, support professionals, maintenance, etc.
He said that part-time employees would also receive a raise – a percentage of the $830 based on the number of hours worked.
Corona wrote, in an email to school system employees, he and the board appreciated each of them and that he was glad that the board decided to approve the pay raise.
“The bottom line is this. Your employer, the WBRP School board, is aware of what is going on in our schools on an academic front,” Corona wrote. “They appreciate the work that you are doing, and have found a way to provide an additional $830 annually to every full time employee’s salary schedule.”
In addition to the pay raise, the board adopted a resolution recognizing the parish school employees for their hard work and success throughout the school year.
The resolution, which was written by Corona, states the board recognizes “that you, our employees, have accepted the challenge of improving academic outcomes for our children with a vengeance. Because of that, we thank you for those efforts and we are proud that you have chosen to work in the West Baton Rouge Parish School System. Together, we will continue to make additional progress.”
Corona thanked the board for their unanimous decision to allow the pay increase as well as the resolution adoption.
“This is going to be a perfect way to end the school year for our people,” he said. “This has been a stressful, but now I can tell you successful, school year.”
In other school news, Corona announced that WBR’s district performance score, despite the extra rigors of common core testing, look to be higher than expected.
“All of the (state) tests, all of the assessments from grade three and on have been more common core-like; they took a great leap into being more rigorous,” Corona explained. “Most people like us, in the central offices and principal’s chairs and so forth, were hoping that we wouldn’t drop too far because of the rigor that our kids would face.”
Corona said that the actual performance scores have not yet been calculated, but after initial assessments, he doesn’t believe WBR will see any decreases in performance scores.
“I have no idea of how we will compare with other districts, but I will tell you based on what I’m seeing, our basic/above in grades 3-8 is a little better than our basic/above overall was last year. That’s quite an accomplishment – it’s more than an accomplishment,” he said. “I am very, very hopeful and grateful for the hard work of our teachers, our central office people. Our folks have done an incredible job; provided good support, smart support.
“We’re very pleased with what we have done in the first year of more rigorous testing.”