EBR school leaders host town hall amid concerns around new budget, proposed teacher pay raises

The East Baton Rouge School System is looking to finalize a budget for the school year.
Published: May. 30, 2023 at 4:03 PM CDT|Updated: May. 30, 2023 at 10:53 PM CDT

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - East Baton Rouge School Board President Dadrius Lanus led a town hall meeting, Tuesday, May 30, to address concerns surrounding next year’s proposed budget.

One of the biggest items on the school district’s newly proposed budget is teacher pay raises. However, those raises are for teachers only and do not include support staff workers.

The East Baton Rouge School System is looking to finalize a budget for the school year.

“Any raise that doesn’t include all employees, is not acceptable,” said Valencia Johnson, President of the East Baton Rouge Association of Educators.

“In 2022, East Baton Rouge Superintendent Dr. Sito Narcisse told board members about his initial plans to raise teacher pay.

The proposal included raising teacher pay by 8% in the 2023-2024 school year, 10% in 2024-2025 school year, and 12% in 2025-2026 school year based on the current scale, but the omission of support staff in the new budget has some worried about the plan altogether.

“If all can’t get it, then that’s going to be a major problem for us,” said Johnson.

Lanus said the EBR School System has nearly 3,500 teachers and more than 6,000 employees. He said everyone deserves to be compensated for the work that is being done, but the board has yet to identify a feasible source of funding.

“Everybody has worked to make this district what it is,” Lanus said.

Lanus promises to not only work to find the money for all school employees but find a better way to fund future pay raises.

“The hard part is not balancing the budget, it’s figuring out what you have to comb through, cut from, and shift to balance our budget. I think we’re going to get to that place, and I want our community to know that we’re going to continue to work diligently until we get there. We made a commitment, we made a promise, and we’re going to live up to that promise,” Lanus said.

People at the town hall also shared concerns about the future of Dr. Narcisse.

The district’s top leader was recently named a finalist to potentially become the new superintendent for the Broward County School System in Broward County, Florida.

“I know a lot of people have concerns around our Superintendent, but whether he’s here or not, we have to ensure we’re putting our best foot forward to take care of our entire community,” Lanus said.

The school board has until September to approve the new budget.

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