SCHOOL BOARD APPROVES 13TH CHECK FOR EMPLOYEES
The Livingston Parish School Board approved at its Jan. 21 meeting a proposal submitted by Superintendent Joe Murphy to pay a stipend to all full-time district employees. The stipend will be $1,000 for all full-time employees.
Murphy said the district can make the one-time supplemental payments thanks to savings in expenditures and unexpected increases in sales tax revenue accrued over the past six months.
“Much credit goes to our administrators for being good stewards of our dollars and making sure that dedicated federal and state dollars were utilized to cover applicable expenses so as not to impact the district’s general fund,” Murphy said.
“It is certainly our desire to recognize the value of our employees and to compensate them as we are able. We are glad we can offer this stipend to them, especially in light of the challenges they have endured over this past year,” he added.
Murphy said the total cost of the one-time stipend is $4.778 million. He said employees will receive the “13th check” by Feb. 11.
DISTRICT ENACTS COVID-19 LEAVE FOR EMPLOYEES FOR 2021
Superintendent Joe Murphy said all district employees will be eligible for up to 10 calendar days of leave related to a positive case of COVID-19 and seven calendar days for close contact with a positive case, retroactive to the start of the New Year, and extending through March 31, thanks to a policy change approved Jan. 21.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 provided school system employees 10 days of leave to cover days they could not work due to being quarantined following contact tracing. However, those days expired Dec. 31 with the 2020 tax year, as it was a federal tax credit that reimbursed districts. The latest federal coronavirus relief package did not include a new credit for this year.
The addition of leave days is a local option, Murphy noted. He said the district would incorporate the local leave time into any extension that Congress may enact for this year.
“It’s important to note the COVID leave days are being granted by the local district – not by the state or federal governments at this time,” Murphy said. “We will certainly incorporate this change with any that might be issued by the state or federal government in the future. We also will review our policy again at its expiration date of March 31 to determine if additional action is needed to readdress the issue.”
The Livingston Parish School Board voted to give employees a “clean slate” of COVID sick days for the new year, regardless of whether they had used any or all their previous COVID leave. The COVID leave days are calendar days and not work/school days.
“This is the right thing to do,” Murphy said. “We have employees who had exhausted their COVID leave and many others could be faced with taking emergency sick leave to cover necessary absences in this new semester. This policy change recognizes the hardships that COVID is creating for many of our people.”
FRENCH SETTLEMENT HIGH NAMES BASEBALL FIELD FOR BELOVED COACH
French Settlement High School has honored the many achievements and contributions of one of its most beloved baseball coaches by naming the school’s baseball field the “Mark Holmes Field.”
Mark Holmes taught and coached at the school from 1990 to 2010. During his time as the school’s head baseball coach, he compiled 324 wins and won nine district championships, made four appearances to the state tournament, was Class B State Runner Up in 2002, and was named the LBCA Coach of the Year in 2001.
“The Livingston Parish School Board wishes to establish an enduring reminder and to celebrate the life and contributions of Mr. Mark Holmes to the Livingston Parish School System and French Settlement High School,” Superintendent Joe Murphy said.
French Settlement High School Principal John Chewning said the Holmes’ name would be added to the field before the start of this year’s baseball season.
“Coach Holmes was my coach, I am very excited about being able to this for him and I am Honored to be a part of it. When you think about French Settlement baseball, you think of Mark Holmes,” Chewning said.
SCHOOL SYSTEM RECEIVES CLEAN AUDIT
A full audit of the Livingston Parish School System’s financial records for the 2019-2020 fiscal year shows that the school system is in compliance with all state auditing guidelines, showing no material weaknesses in its internal controls.
The audit of the system’s basic financial statements was presented to the school board by independent auditors with Hannis T. Bourgeois at the board’s Jan. 21 meeting.
“We are most pleased that our school system continues to be a good steward of the people’s monies; spending those dollars correctly – investing wisely in our facilities, in our employees and, ultimately, in our students,” said Livingston Parish School Board President David “Bo” Graham.
The financial report included a review of governmental activities, each major fund, the budgetary comparison statement of the general fund, the budgetary comparison statement of the Disaster Special Revenue Fund, the fiduciary fund statement, and the aggregate remaining fund information of the school system for the year ending June 30, 2020.