LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Calcasieu Parish teachers are getting less in their November paychecks than they expected.
During Tuesday’s school board meeting, teachers voiced their concerns and asked questions regarding this year’s sales tax supplement, which acts as a little extra money in their paycheck, funded by sales taxes.
“We are paid very low and we put a lot of work; spend a lot of out own money in our classrooms,” elementary school teacher, Cammie Benoit, said.
For Benoit, and all Calcasieu teachers, she’s getting half of what she thought she would get from the surplus funds used to fund the salary supplement, and she said—that’s not going to cut it.
“It would just help a lot to get back some of the money we spend each year,” Benoit said.
According to the school board, employees on a teacher-based schedule who were working on or before Nov. 9 of will receive an additional $3,000. All other employees will receive $2,100.
“We’ve been very fortunate here in Calcasieu Parish with the economic growth we’ve had. We have two half-cent sales taxes that are dedicated to salaries in this parish," Calcasieu Parish Superintendent, Karl Bruchhaus, said. "Each year, we know what we’re going to pay out in salaries. It’d been agreed upon before this date. Whatever we collect extra, we set aside.”
Bruchhaus said the board has decided to save some of that surplus for a rainy day.
“We try to be as reasonable as we can in what we pay out while holding some of the money back in case we run upon hard times, or to be able to have a salary supplement for the following years,” Bruchhaus said.
That decision is what some teachers take issue with, saying it shouldn’t be used for “hard times.”
“Would not be used to offset expenditures in the current budget, will not be used to address any budget shortfalls incurred in the past, or the current year; as it is solely dedicated to employees salaries and benefits," Vicky Johnston said.
The school board said that money will be used for staff salaries, just not for this year.
This year’s supplement for those with teacher-based schedules is $3,000, which is up $150 from last year. For those other staff members, the $2,100 in this year’s supplement is also an increase.