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Calcasieu Parish teachers to receive $2,500 stipend

Updated: Dec. 8, 2020 at 11:14 PM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - A stipend of $2,500 has been approved for Calcasieu Parish teachers. Other employees not on the teacher salary scale will receive $1,750.

But some of those teachers, who demanded an increase, say there was more money in the budget to do that.

It was a heated discussion between the Calcasieu Parish School District and the teachers they employ during the school board meeting on Tuesday night.

The school board voted to give teachers a $2,500 stipend on their Dec 18 paychecks.

This is quite the reduction from years prior and the amount did not sit well with some teachers as they fought for an increase.

“They keep putting the money aside for a rainy day, but the storm is upon us...it’s raining, it’s pouring. And we need that money. We will put it all back into the economy. I need to buy shingles, I need to buy floors, I need to buy sheetrock,” said Janice Patton, a teacher at Barbe High School.

“We’ve reduced the supplement a little bit because our books need to sustain some cash flow for the hurricane,” said Karl Bruchhaus, Calcasieu Parish School District Superintendent.

It’s a trying time for both teachers and Calcasieu Parish school officials.

“I’m a single momma so that will help me with my kids for Christmas obviously, but I was disappointed that they sort of just listened to us, and then went ahead and did the vote,” Patton explained. “I felt like it was already predetermined.”

“We can’t blame the employees. They want everything they feel like they deserve. And they want the money that’s available,” Bruchhaus said. “But the board has to balance that with presenting financial stability as we go ask the [bond commission] to borrow $100 million to cover hurricane repair.”

The superintendent says the district is preparing for a bond commission hearing next week to ask for money for hurricane relief.

Teachers say while they feel their voices were not heard, they still feel lucky to have received some extra funds during a pandemic and hurricane recovery.

“A little bit extra would have been nice but in the end, I’m blessed, grateful, and thankful to have a job and I guess you can’t kick a gift horse in the mouth.” Expressed Patton.

The board also voted to change the school calendar to add some of the holidays, which were taken away last month, back to the schedule.

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