Teachers-only raise upsets other school workers
PORT ALLEN - Many school employees in West Baton Rouge Parish are feeling left out after teachers got a pay raise.
The parish received extra money from the state to distribute among district employees. The West Baton Rouge Parish School Board decided to give all of that extra cash only to certified teachers, causing some hard feelings among the large group of uncertified employees.
No one disputed that teachers were deserving, though, and in need of a pay raise.
"We've had great gains over the past six, seven years," said Superintendent David Corona. "And that's a direct result of all our people working hard at what they do."
The extra $270,000 translated into a raise of about $700 per teacher. However, it also cuts out all other district employees -- everyone from teacher's aides to cafeteria workers -- from receiving any type of raise.
"As public school funds have been frozen, those at the bottom, economically, have been asked to sacrifice most," said Steve Monaghan, president of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers.
Monaghan spoke for those support employees who wish to remain anonymous, several of whom contacted News 2 through email. One worker said "we deserve a cost of living just like everyone else does. I'm tired of being left out and having to struggle to make ends meet."
The union places the blame squarely on the state, and not on the West Baton Rouge School Board.
"It shouldn't be a contest between employees fighting for meager resources," Monaghan said.
Parents said teachers are extremely important, but cannot do it all alone.
"I think teacher aides are a big factor," said Ray Desselle, a grandparent in West Baton Rouge. "And cafeteria workers, janitors and everybody else."
While he can't speak for the entire school board, Corona said the district seems to be in a good financial position, where they may be able to consider a pay raise for the non-certified employees as well.