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School district paid employees nearly $300K in overtime during pandemic shutdown

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PLAQUEMINE- Serious questions are being raised after nearly $300,000 dollars worth of taxpayer money was paid to employees at the Iberville Parish School System for overtime expenses it claims employees worked while school was closed.

Last week, the WBRZ Investigative Unit picked up a handful of public records indicating nearly 430 employees recieved $283,523.18. On Friday, June 19, 2020, we lined up an interview with Superintendent Arthur Joffrion for Monday at 11am. Joffrion wanted some questions we were going to ask, so those were provided to him Friday.

This morning, Joffrion did not show up for the Zoom interview that was set up. Despite sending meeting invites and telling him we waited for ten minutes for the information, Joffrion responded, "So sorry. I had to leave early this morning to help a family friend in Dallas."

We asked when he was available to chat but did not hear back.

The president of the school board, Polly Higdon, told WBRZ the amount of money paid in overtime is concerning. She said a meeting will be held next month to discuss policies moving forward in case there is a "next time."

The WBRZ Investigative Unit checked with the following school districts: East Baton Rouge, Livingston, Ascension and West Baton Rouge. All of them said they did not pay any overtime to their employees while their schools were closed.

With few answers coming from Iberville Parish about the enormous expenses it incurred while schools were closed, questions are being raised about whether it was a wise use of taxpayer money.

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