JENNINGS – Parish school bus driver Jeff Davis said Thursday that he and other support workers were concerned about the amount of the wage supplement offered to district employees.
Jeff Davis Bus Operator’s Association president Peter Leblanc, who has been a bus driver at Hathaway High School for 47 years, said support workers are troubled by the school board’s plan to grant certified employees full-time a one-time supplement of $ 1,500, but only $ 1,000 to full-time support workers.
âWe don’t think that’s fair how this money is divided,â said LeBlanc. âNothing against the teachers, they deserve what they get. They feel like when teachers start working, they’re first hired, they start with a higher salary, but we start with a lower base salary.
The group believes the proposed allowance, which is paid to employees in addition to their annual salary, is unfair because all other employees work as hard as teachers, LeBlanc said.
âWe have secretaries, janitors, cafeteria workers doing their best, as well as the teachers,â he said.
LeBlanc and Tina Gary, a 20-year bus driver at Hathaway High School, said they were grateful for the allowances but felt they were unfair.
They urged the board to consider total compensation for all employees, regardless of educational background, positions and hours worked. Allowances are paid at all levels in other parishes, LeBlanc said.
“It’s an allowance that you get once, everyone in this office and this school parish is working just as hard to get that money, so why has it always been split into someone with a degree and somebody? ‘one without a degree,’ Gary said. “Why can’t it be distributed fairly, because it’s a unique thing?” “
Gary said bus drivers have a lot of responsibility to get students to and from school safely and often start their day before dawn.
“Without disrespecting anyone, but I know what teachers are doing day in and day out and the paperwork they are taking home,” said Paul Trahan, board member. âLoading lesson plans on Saturdays and Sundays and in the summer when not paid. Bus drivers run five days a week. The average teacher does not work five days a week.
After a long discussion, council voted 8-3 to table the measure with council members Charles Bruchhaus, Terry Leger and Paul Trahan voting against its postponement until next month. Council members David Capdeville and David Doise were absent. All other board members voted in favor of tabling the plan.
Superintendent Kirk Credeur said there are a million ways the board could come up with a different plan.
“Sometimes it’s very difficult because there is no formula for how you divide it and what is one person’s definition of righteous and not the other’s definition of righteous,” he said. declared Creditor. “The concern I have now is that there are literally millions of ways to do this, so we’re going to have to create different options.”
He said the difficulty comes from the different levels of education, experience and hours of work because all employees are different.
âTwenty to 30 years ago, we felt blessed that the board gave us money,â he continued. âToday when we donate our money it seems like a big challenge and it just disappoints me that it has become that, but it is. “
The money for the allowances comes from a budget surplus of $ 2.6 million.