school-house

In the last newsletter, we wrote about the need for salary increases in both Bossier and Caddo, two districts at the bottom of the salary rank.


RED RIVER PARISH
– We actually thought Red River Parish was not a district in need of immediate assistance in the salary ranking as they hold the status as the highest new teacher pay in the region. But just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water (a little Jaws humor), we find out the teachers and staff are looking at a pay reduction! The taxing structure allowing Red River Parish to have the highest new teacher salaries in the region, is being manipulated to lower employee stipends. OUCH!!!

BOSSIER PARISH – You may remember in the last newsletter, Bossier Parish was saved from being the bottom in new teacher pay only because Caddo pays less. This is being done while the district is making tons of upgrades. Unfortunately, those upgrades do not include salary increases.

CADDO PARISH
Amazingly enough, the Caddo Parish School Board doesn’t think being on the bottom of the salary ranking matters. How do we know? Instead of addressing it, they have added insult to injury by placing on the agenda an item to increase  the insurance by 5% and then had the audacity to say we should be happy with such a small increase. Newsflash – that is a salary cut!

RED RIVER UNITED ANSWERSBefore the end of October, every employee in Caddo will receive 12 postcards, 1 for each of the board members. The cards indicate your position, your years of service, your take home, and the amount you take out of your personal pocket for your students and school. These cards will be delivered to the school board.

Recognizing the school board must act before the next legislative session next spring in order to begin the process of getting something to the voters, we will continue to advocate and nothing, no, nothing, is off the table.

The same process will be replicated in BOSSIER, the 12 postcards to every employee. The process for pay raise is not the same in Bossier as this board has more leeway in asking the public. We have heard a Bossier board member say in the public forum that he wants all the employees to get a raise. We need to encourage the other 11 Bossier Parish School Board members.  In RED RIVER PARISH, a legal opinion will be forthcoming. We will also petition the board for an agenda item specific to this issue.

It bears saying again: We are asked to do more and more with less and less. We have done our part, it is up to the CADDO, BOSSIER, AND RED RIVER BOARDS to do their part!

BENEFITS

You may remember the position of the Red River United is to address salary and benefits. The benefit we are speaking about for all three districts is paternity and maternity leave. This is the latest update we have. In CADDO, the administration has paternity and maternity leave in preparation to go up in front of the board.

BOSSIER and RED RIVER PARISHES are both served by the same legal firm. This firm is telling the administrations they don’t have to offer paid maternity and paternity. Our answer is that just because you don’t have to do something does not mean you shouldn’t. Don’t call yourself family when you don’t honor family by making your employees choose between their family and their job. Remember, this is the same legal advisor who advised the administration a teacher on maternity leave who was requested to come to school to provide testing was okay– she could just bring her newborn with her!!!

While this shouldn’t be a fight, it appears that it is. Please let us hear from you as we prepare testimonials.

Having an unencumbered lunch time, something that most every other employee in the workforce assumes is the norm, is not the norm when it comes to education. Since this primarily happens in elementary schools, you could make a strong case for gender bias. It’s a woman’s job, right?

Yet,  LA Law – Revised Statute 17 , states the following:

RS 17:434  

§434. Planning time and lunch periods for teachers; required

A.(1)  The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education shall adopt necessary rules and regulations requiring, beginning with the 2000-2001 school year, each city and parish school board to provide a minimum of forty-five minutes daily planning time, or its weekly equivalent, and a minimum of thirty minutes for lunch each day which shall be duty-free for every teacher actively engaged in the instruction and supervision of students in the public schools.  Implementation of planning time and lunch periods as required in this Section for teachers shall not result in a lengthened school day.

(2)  The provisions of this Subsection shall be subject to the availability of state funds for this purpose.

B.  Nothing in this Section shall be construed to affect the provisions of R.S. 17:154.1 relative to required instructional time in the school day.

C.  This Section shall not apply to a city or parish school board operating under the terms of a collective bargaining agreement applicable to teachers employed by the board.

Acts 1988, No. 832, §1; Acts 1999, No. 1143, §1.

BOSSIER has made progress, but it is still far from being implemented across the board. That will not happen until the board honors their commitment to address this in the budget, something they have yet to do. How you spend your money and time is a strong expression of what and who you value. Turfing the athletic fields instead of ensuring a teacher has a bathroom break suggest the values of the board.

The BOSSIER and RED RIVER administrations should look to their budgets and their schedules for ready solutions. We are only talking a lunch period. When in its totality, is only an hour and a half.

Yes, you can if you will.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Saturday, October 8th

Teachers9:00-11:00 am

Join us as we discuss how to implement and manage progress monitoring and response to intervention (RTI) in your classroom.  Esther Otu, Walnut Hill Teacher and Reading Specialist, will present strategies and techniques you can implement in your classroom immediately.  This session is open to members and nonmembers at our office 1726 Line Ave., Shreveport, 71101. Contact Jordan Thomas at 318-423-9423 orjthomas@redriverunited.org  for any questions or usehttp://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090c4caaaf2ba0ff2-progress to reserve your spot today!

Bus Drivers and Aides12:00-1:00pm

Managing a safe and orderly bus is essential for drivers and aides.  Leola Scott, a longtime Caddo driver, will present strategies to effectively manage a bus.  This session is open to members and nonmembers at our office 1726 Line Ave., Shreveport, 71101.  Contact Phyllis Mason at 318-424-4579 or pmason@redriverunited.org to reserve your spot today!

TEACHER TIP

So I discovered this at the end of last year, and I don’t think I ever sent it out to share. Here it is for all my teachers new and old.

For those of you constantly being asked to borrow a pen, we all know the likelihood of getting that pen back. You can order bulk pens from Amazon.com. It is a cheaper way to get a large amount than constantly buying them from office supply. These are pens made by companies that were either misprinted, or they ran too many of them and can’t get paid for them. I’ve included an example of a 5 lb box for $23. There are other options also.

~M. Keith Nash, C.E. Byrd High School