EBR School Board posts budget including one-time teacher stipends, set for approval by end of the month
BATON ROUGE - Four proposals and several special meetings later, a budget for the 2023-2024 school year has finally been chosen by the East Baton Rouge School Board.
On top of salaries, teachers can expect a stipend of $4,000 this school year under the proposed budget, while support staff will receive a stipend of $2,000.
"Everybody was prioritized in this budget, that's the difference here. Students were prioritized, our employees were prioritized, our teachers and even our support workers. Even cafeteria workers who have historically not received any compensation in the past, bus drivers who have not received compensation in the past and even janitors," East Baton Rouge School Board President Dadrius Lanus said.
There were a lot of concerns surrounding the sustainability of this budget and how it will be able to supply raises in the future when federal funding dwindles.
"We're in a very financially healthy place. We have nearly $100 million inside our fund balance and that's a good place to be in, while still giving pay raises I may add," Lanus said.
Another problem involved assistant principals being cut to make the budget possible. After much criticism, those cuts were instead made to central office positions.
"We have about 40 positions that we were able to save and preserve going into this year's budget, a lot of which were surrounded by uncertainty. We now have no cuts going into our classrooms and instead will be at the central office around non-academic based positions," Lanus said.
While 15 assistant principals are staying, 13 will be taking on a new role as dean of students while two will be retained in their original position at an alternative school.
"Some of those salaries will be reduced but some of the dean salaries are so close in terms of comparison that they won't really feel the hurt because when you add in teacher pay raises it gets them above the sum they are currently at, while being an assistant principal," Lanus said.
Lanus says that the focus is now on how they will make this budget process more effective in years to come.
"As we move forward we're going to progress monitor our budget on a month by month basis to make sure that one we're getting up to date information, two, our community has a voice in that process, and three, that we can get notifications of communications out to everyone inside of our system in a more timely fashion. I think that's the way we should move and how we're going to move forward," Lanus said.
The board is expected to approve the budget by the end of the month.
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