LIVINGSTON PARISH, La. (WAFB) - After Livingston Parish voters said ‘No’ on Saturday, March 25, to a new tax that would’ve funded pay increases for public school teachers and other school employees in the parish, a neighboring parish is already looking to poach teachers from the district.
RELATED: Livingston Parish votes down tax for teacher pay raises
The proposal on Saturday’s ballot called for a one-cent sales tax in the parish. School system leaders said the new tax would have provided a ten percent pay increase for school system employees.
fifty-four percent of voters rejected the measure. Livingston Parish rejects tax vote. (Louisiana Secretary of State)
On Monday, officials with the
Tangipahoa Parish School System posted on Facebook, that they are offering a one-time $15,000 recruitment stipend for new teachers joining the school system.
“The stipend will be paid over two years, providing an extra $625 per month on top of the teacher salary schedule. This is part of our effort to create a more diverse environment at every school. If you’re new to teaching, your salary in Tangipahoa will start at $47,300 plus the $15,000 bonus. If you have five or ten years of experience with a bachelor’s degree, your years of experience will be credited on the salary schedule,” the Facebook post went on to say.
Tangipahoa Parish School System. (Tangipahoa Parish School System.)
Right now, the starting salary for teachers in Livingston Parish is around $47,000.
Pointe Coupee Schools - $48,442 Ascension Schools - $48,783 West Feliciana Schools - $50,272 Iberville Schools - Over $55,000 St. Helena Schools - $41,000 West Baton Rouge Parish Schools - $51,033
Livingston Parish School Board meeting will take place Thursday, March 30.
There are already at least two items on the agenda to discuss the salaries for teachers in the district:
4. Discussion and action on entering into a contract with a third-party consultant to perform an analysis of the staffing and salary structure of Livingston Parish Public Schools
10. Discussion and Action on forming a task force to find a solution to teacher pay raises
An elementary school teacher in Livingston Parish who did not want to be identified, posted a somber message on Facebook about the tax proposal failing:
“I don’t just teach your children. I form relationships with your children. I’m educated and trained to do my job to the best of my ability. I give everything to being the best teacher I can be in the town & community that I grew up in. I make learning fun every single day so your child has memories for a lifetime. I make sure they gain the knowledge and life skills they need while still making them EXCITED to be at school. I make them feel safe & secure. I comfort them when they are sad, sick, worried. I don’t just read from a manual or sit behind a computer. I know your child’s fears, favorite snacks, their strengths and weaknesses. I lay awake at night wondering how ___ is feeling or if I did enough to help ____. I text parents at 10pm or 6am. I form relationships and I build trust. I’m so much more than just your child’s babysitter.
How was that not worth one cent?
The private school is going to cost way more than the penny would have cost you.
We are going to lose valuable, remarkable educators to neighboring districts. It’s a sad time here in Livingston Parish."
Livingston Parish Schools Superintendent Joe Murphy released a statement on the election:
Dear Livingston Parish Voters,
I know the past few months have been a difficult time for the people of Livingston Parish, as we have grappled with the issue of adding a 1-cent sales tax to some purchases in order to benefit our school teachers and staff.
The decision to place a 1-cent sales tax proposition on the ballot was made after much contemplation by school and community leaders who viewed this funding option as the best way to increase salaries in the Livingston Parish Public Schools System. The salary increases are needed to enable the district to hire and retain qualified personnel.
Nonetheless, the voters of Livingston Parish did not support this proposed funding solution as presented on the March 25 ballot. We know that low pay for Livingston Parish Public School employees will continue to present challenges for our system, but that our leaders will do all they can to manage available funds to give our schools the resources and personnel they need to provide our children with a quality education. We know that the vast majority of our employees are dedicated professionals who will continue to put forth their very best effort, every day, to positively impact every child in their care.
It is my hope that our parish can heal from any division that may have occurred during this election, and that other options to improve the wages of our school professionals may present themselves in the near future.
Alan Joe Murphy - Livingston Parish Public Schools superintendent
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