SCHOOL BOARD APPROVES LARGEST COMPENSATION PACKAGE EVER
Murphy presented a pay increase proposal that included a permanent boost from the state, which was approved by the State Legislature in the 2022 General Session — $1,500 for teachers and district educators, and $750 for classified staff. That pay increase will be “supplemented” by the local district under Murphy’s plan, to include another $500 for teachers and district educators and $250 for classified staff.
He said these added supplements obligate the district to dedicate an additional $1.9 million each year to salaries and benefits.
“These combined increases give our teachers a permanent pay raise of $2,000 per person, and our classified staff a pay raise of $1,000 per person,” Murphy said. He noted that these increases would be retroactive to July 1, 2022.
In addition to the permanent increases, the board approved a one-time supplement of $1,000 for every employee, plus a 3-percent salary supplement as calculated after the other increases are put into place for the 2022-2023 school year. The supplements will be paid in two installments, with half of the amount issued on Nov. 4, 2022, and the remaining half of the amount issued on May 5, 2023.
Murphy noted that these supplements are expected to cost $10.7 million, and those monies will be pulled from the district’s general fund.
SOUTHSIDE K-8 CAMPUS OPENS NEARLY 6 YEARS AFTER FLOOD
After being in temporary buildings for nearly six years, the students and staff of Southside Elementary and Southside Junior High now occupy a new shared campus in Denham Springs.
“This is the culmination of the combined efforts of so many,” Superintendent Joe Murphy said. He thanked Alvin Fairburn & Associates of Denham Springs, who designed the new campus, and Womack Construction, who managed the construction.
The elementary campus (grades K-5) can hold 800 students and occupies the right-facing side of the complex. The junior high (grades 6-8) accommodates 1,000 students and occupies the left-facing side of the complex.
The rear section includes the band room, gymnasium, multi-purpose room and cafeteria that can be sectioned off for the different grade levels or opened to accommodate large gatherings. A two-story, glass-walled library occupies the center of the main building, near the administrative offices, overlooking a large outdoor courtyard.
The school buildings have been built at an elevation of 9 ½ feet higher than the previous school complex.
Murphy said school officials plan to hold a community open house at the campus in the coming weeks, to allow parents, former Southside students and local community members to see the new facilities.
ASSESS THE NEED PROVIDES SCHOOL SUPPLIES FOR PARISH STUDENTS
Volunteers with this year’s Assess the Need campaign have been in full action in August, collecting donations at area Associated Grocers stores and distributing supplies to every campus in the parish.
Livingston Parish Assessor Jeff Taylor, who is in his 22nd consecutive year of sponsoring the program, said more than 3,000 students have benefitted from this year’s efforts. He also noted that the program is providing some “follow up” assistance, as requested by the schools, to assist families that may not have been included in the original count or who have additional needs.
“We are thankful to the people of Livingston Parish for their generosity and unwavering support of our program. We want to thank our many business sponsors, our donors, and our volunteers, including several teachers and school officials who assisted us. We are so glad we can come together as a community to make a positive impact in the lives of our children,” Taylor said.
LEAP SCORES SHOW DISTRICT CONTINUES TO RANK AMONG STATE’S TOP 10 IN ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
Livingston Parish Public Schools ranks among the Top 10 public-school districts in Louisiana for the percentage of students in grades 3-12 who scored Mastery or Advanced on the state’s accountability exams, according to the latest Louisiana Department of Education report.
The state’s 2021-2022 report on LEAP scores showed that 41 percent of all students in grades 3-12 who took the LEAP 2025 exams last year scored at the two highest performing levels.
Albany High School was among the state’s top one-year growth schools, improving its overall percentage of Mastery and Advanced scores by 14 percent – jumping from 28 percent to 42 percent.
“The state’s full accountability measure, which encompasses many different components, will not be released until later this fall. It will be at that time that our curriculum leaders will use that data to gain a better perspective on our efforts, and where we may need to improve our strategies,” Superintendent Joe Murphy said.
STATE TASK FORCE CREATED TO STUDY CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS
The Louisiana Community and Technical College System recently hosted the inaugural meeting of the newly formed Workforce Opportunity and Readiness Task Force, which was formed during the 2022 legislative session to study workforce readiness programs and activities in the state’s public schools.
“In order for Louisiana to be competitive with surrounding states, we must do our best to develop educational programs that engage and motivate our students outside of traditional programs,” said State Rep. Buddy Mincey of Denham Springs, who authored HCR 81 Resolution, creating the task force. “Our economy needs a trained workforce, who can meet high demand occupations that will provide long-term foundational support for a robust and growing economy.”
Over the next 18 months, the task force will identify successful practices and develop recommendations for promoting successful career and technical education programs across Louisiana. It will submit an initial report of its findings and recommendations by January 2023, with a final written report due by January 2024.