July 2, 2007
Reported By: Lee Peck
After years of lobbying for a pay raise, teachers in Calcasieu Parish could soon collect an annual $5,000. "It's the largest single raise that a teacher in Calcasieu Parish has ever gotten," said CPSB Chief Financial Officer Karl Brucchaus.
Here's how it breaks down: Thanks to the state legislature, teachers all across the state will receive a $2,375 pay raise. Calcasieu can expect an additional $2,321 from state MFP funding. Plus, an extra $304 the Calcasieu Parish School budget committee. Add it all up, it makes for a $5,000 pay hike for Calcasieu Parish teachers.
Principals and top administrators would also collect a pay increase from between $6,000 to more than $12,000. The state also gave school support workers a $1,000 raise, which the school board plans to add an extra $500.
Rick Kuykendall has been teaching for 28 years and says the raises are long overdue. "It's not just the money, I think it's a great morale booster. I think it's going to help us with morale and of course at the end of the month, like I said it's going to help pay bills too," said Kuykendall.
To compete with other states, the proposal puts Calcasieu teachers closer to the Southeastern Regional Average. Teachers starting out would make $37,726, while teachers with a masters degree and 27 plus years experience would bring home anywhere from $50,000 to $55,000 per year.
"With us being here on the Texas border and Texas historically paying better than us and all of Louisiana -- we've lost teachers in the past. We hope that this $5,000 will help keep some of those people here at home," said Brucchaus.
"I think it's a very good place for us to be at this point. I think we need to keep on track with what the other states in the southeastern region are doing. And if they raise pay, we are going to have to raise pay too so we don't lose teachers, but we are very appreciative of this raise," said Kuykendall.
The Calcasieu Parish School Board is set to vote next Tuesday on whether accept these recommendations for the 2007-2008 budget.