Ascension Parish Schools employees excited about raise

Photo provided by staff
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - 7:00am

Teachers in Ascension Parish have a lot to smile about. They work for one of the best districts in the state, and now they are getting a raise.

The Ascension Parish School Board approved the 2014-15 budget during its meeting Tuesday night. The most notable item included was a three percent raise for all full-time employees.

"This is extremely important," stated Carli Francois, the newly-appointed principal of Dutchtown High School. "I appreciate working for a district that recognizes the work, worth, of the faculty and staff at each of our schools. This is very important. This says a lot about what this district values."

For a young teacher, the raise will equate to roughly $1,500.

"Our employees are the absolute bloodline of our school system," mentioned Superintendent Patrice Pujol. And our success is built on their professional expertise, and just the fabulous job they do."

"We are showed our worth and our value in many, many other ways," Francois noted. "But of course, it's always nice to be shown your value through a little raise, monetarily."

Employees had not gotten a raise since 2008 because of the recession. The board announced earlier in the year that it intended to include salary increases in the upcoming budget.

"There was a buzz of excitement," Francois said of her colleagues' initial reaction. "Appreciation, of course, for this raise."

Employees received salary supplements at times over the last few years, in the form of bonuses. But Pujol claimed that she did not hear them complain about their paychecks.

"And it's really testament to their professionalism and their consummate service to our students," she added.

"Teachers in this district are absolutely in for it for the students, and doing what's best for kids," Francois explained.

The school system could afford it because of growth around the parish. The district expects to collect $3 million more this year from ad valorem taxes, and an increase in students means more money from the state's Minimum Foundation Program, the formula that determines how much funding each district will receive.

"We will continue to progress and to improve as a district because we put the needs of our students first. And as long as we do that, we will continue to improve, continue to grow, and continue to be a benefit to this amazing community."

Another celebrated component of the upcoming budget is technology. The district will buy 4,000 laptops and tablets for elementary students. Pujol said it will be, "great for our kids to have just that 21st century, state of the art learning environment where they're really getting ready for the economy that they will live in as they graduate high school."

The number of students with individual computers will rise to 11,000, more than half of the 19,000 total enrolled.

"If you read a budget from anywhere, it basically tells you where their priorities are. And I think we're putting our priorities in our people and in our systems to make our school system the best it can be," said school board president Troy Gautreau.

To view the salary schedule of teachers in Ascension Public Schools, download the attachment below.

APSB 2014-2015 Salary Schedule.pdf512.22 KB

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