Ascension Parish considering raises for school support staff

ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Teachers are in line for a pay increase this year, but they're not the only ones.

Ascension Parish is considering extending some of its state-issued funds to support staff.

Gregory Scott is what the Ascension Parish School System refers to as a facility foreman, a fancy title for supervisor. But Scott prefers to be called Coach.

"We have students, teachers, even custodians themselves from other schools," Scott said.

Scott travels 28 campuses making sure everything from ceiling to floor is working and in tip top shape.

"I always, as a support person, want to be part of the conversation," Scott said.

Scott and other support staff such as janitors, librarians and maintenance workers, are part of a bigger conversation this school year.

Human Resources Director Randy Watts said district leaders decided this year to extend the school system's state-issued one-time teacher raises to non-teaching staff.

"We know we have excelled in the classroom and we have excellent educators but we also know that we have some things that other districts don't have and that being a dedicated support staff that makes things happen," Scott said.

The Ascension Parish School Board got just over $2.2 million from the state. After a standard federal cut, there's $1.6 million left. The school system is proposing to give $657 of the pot to every certified or degreed employee and $300 to every support staffer.

Watts said, while it took a while to do the math and come up with a plan, it was one the board pushed to accomplish.

"You can have the greatest teachers in world, but if the environment in which they are teaching is dingy and moldy and dull sometimes that's what it turns into," Watt said.

Staffers hope the pay boost paves a better path for them and others who dedicate their time to making children's futures brighter.

"Support people have got to live too. I think it would be a tragedy if we did not have a school district that didn't consider that," Scott said.

The Ascension School Board is expected to approve the raises at its meeting on Tuesday.

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