School

CCSS School Board Considers Compensation

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The Central Community School Board will consider compensation of school board members at its regularly scheduled board meeting on July 11, 2011. The meeting will be held at Kristenwood Catering and Reception located at 14025 Greenwell Springs Road, Central, La. The meeting will begin at 6:00 P.M.

31 Comments

  1. Maria L.

    June 30, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Compensation for the school board? Central teachers and staff are not getting their annual step pay raise this year because the budget is tight, yet the ELECTED school board members want to start getting paid. This is a slap in the face to all teachers in the school system. Why are they doing this in the summer when teachers are off and probably not checking school board agendas so that they can discuss it at school? Seems like crafty planning to me. Why not discuss this at a meeting once school starts when more teachers and staff can be made aware of this selfish proposal? If they do vote for this, it should not be made effective until after the next elections.

  2. Because I Care

    June 30, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Maria L., Are you aware the the City Council gets paid, and they are ELECTED also! I certainly think School Board members SHOULD receive compensation, just as the elected City Council does!

  3. Because I Care

    June 30, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Also, Dave, why such large print on just this one article that just happens to be about School Board compensation?

    • dave

      June 30, 2011 at 8:22 pm

      Because,
      That is not an article, it is a press release I received from the Central Community School System with a request that I give this meeting publicity. The words are exactly the words that were sent to me by the school system. As to font size on articles, flip through the pages and you will note that we use varying font sizes and charater spacing depending on the space the article needs to fill. I believe the font and spacing, in this case, are identical to the other stories on the front page. Perhaps there is another question that you are leading to, and you know that I am very accessible and very direct. If you have another question, please ask and I will answer.
      Dave

  4. Maria L.

    June 30, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Because I Care: Let me fill you in. The superintendent came to each of the schools and told us that we would not be getting our annual step raise this next year because money was too tight. He also told us that our health insurance premiums were going up and the school system did not have the funds to absorb the cost, so we would have to pay for it out of our paychecks. Translate: That means teachers will actually take home less next year than they did this year. So, if things are that bad, then why are the school board members proposing to get paid? The school board doesn’t want to appropriate funds to keep the teachers salaries what they are now, but they want to start paying themselves?? I don’t care what the council gets paid. That has nothing to do with the school system. This is all about fairness. I don’t have a problem with the members getting paid; however, I do have a problem with them just getting elected or re-elected this year, and then proposing to get paid after they get elected. If they propose a salary, it should not go into effect until next term. They campaigned knowing there was no salary. Why do they now propose to pay themselves after they get elected. As I said…a slap in the face to the teachers of this system.

  5. Alton R Ashford

    June 30, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    Maria why does teachers pay have to be brought into this conversation. Am I to understand that all the efforts put forth by the board to enhance and expand on the education system of our children is deemed worthless and could only be deserving of compensation if teachers receive a raise. It’s very simple. You either believe that the work of a school board member deserves some sort of compensation or you don’t!

    • dave

      June 30, 2011 at 9:55 pm

      Mr. Ashford,
      I’m going to weigh in here, speaking only for me. I have no real issue with School Board Members receiving pay, but I do have a problem with the concept of elected officials giving themselves raises. This board, less two newly elected members, had the opportunity to establish pay for Board Members prior to qualifying for the last election, but they chose not to take that action. They all ran for a an unpaid seat on the Central School Board. Others lost elections vying for those same unpaid seats. I believe the deal they made with the voters was to serve, unpaid, for their four year term. Vote in pay to begin with the Board to be in place after the next election and I can support that if School System finances justify it. As to your last comment, what if I believe School Board Members deserve to be paid AND I believe teachers deserve a raise? Kind of a dilema there.

  6. Another Central resident

    June 30, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    Typical. Upper administratrion/school board trying to give themselves raises or compensation while the money is considered tight. Central will be like Livingston Parish in regards to money in the next few years. We need to spend more money on more mandatory drug testing. Wait we are already doing that. Some students won’t be able to drive due to inadequate parking. There are no plans to add additional parking.

    Just like the city government all elected politicians need to go. Alos, superintendent and a couple principals need to go as well.

  7. Alton R Ashford

    June 30, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    Maria I owe you an apology because I left Because I Care out of the equation. BIC why does council members pay have to be brought into this conversation. It’s simple, you either believe school board members should be compensated or you don’t. Mr. Dave I will not attempt to banter with you this evening. I will wait and get a good nights rest. Your mind works way faster than mine. I’ve seen Col Jessup take some beatings in here over the years. Maria, just to let you know, I love teachers so much I married one 25 years ago.

  8. Mike Mannino

    June 30, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    Ray you are a hoot ! This is a sticky discussion but one thing I will agree with Dave on, whether you believe they should get paid or not, or legislatures should get a raise or the congress or any other elected official, they should never be able to vote on this to affect themselves. BTW, my wife is a school teacher also and its getting tough for all of them. It is no longer a job you can depend on for a primary income nor are the benefits as great as I have heard. I went to a retirement seminar with her Tuesday and was shocked at what their retirement pay is. Its tough for everyone and she certainly wont get raises anytime soon. But thats OK as long as it goes towards getting this budget under control !!

  9. Keith Holmes

    July 1, 2011 at 12:39 am

    I want to weigh on this discussion on several fronts so be patient. As many of you may remember, there was a rather nasty confrontation last Sept when a proposal came up on the agenda of a school board meeting to prohibit any compensation to School Board members until teacher pay was equal or better than the majority of the six neighboring school districts in our area. Through some very controversial manuvering, the proposal was not allowed to even come up for discussion much less a vote. It was felt to be politically motivated as it was just before the election. It was widely known then that many of the school board members were in favor of receiving compensation but they just did not want to deal with this just before an election. I am in full agreement with Dave and Mike that no elected official should be allowed to give themselves a pay raise. EVER!!! If one is approved it should only go into effect after the next election. That gives the citizens the ability to weigh in with their vote on their approval.

    Secondly, everyone one of these School Board members ran for election knowing it was an unpaid position. If they were uncomfortable with not being compensated, they should not have run for the office. No one made them run.

    Thirdly and probably the most important is the message it sends to the City of Central and to our teachers and support staff. I know that even the maximal allowable Board pay as set by the state of $800 per month would only cost $100K a year, a miniscule amount in comparison to our annual budget of $33 million. It truly would not make a difference in our financial status. As we all know money is tight with the state cut backs and the down economy but there is an even greater dilemma that this school board has to address and that is the unfunded liability for the cost of employee retiree medical benefits. I know this will make for a long post but here it goes.

    Total Fund Balance as June 30, 2011 $10.2 million

    UNFUNDED Employee Medical Retiree cost (4.1) million

    Net ASSETS 6.1 million

    Then remember that we entered into an agreement to keep our fund balance greater than $8 million to qualify for the Bond rating we received for our building program. Considering that obligation, you can see if we had to fund the Employee Medical Retiree Cost today, we could not. We are in the hole by $1.9 million.

    Remember where did that 8 million come from? That’s right, not from prudent annual cost savings but from the one time lump sum settlement from EBR. WE CANNOT EXPECT EVER TO BE SO FORTUNATE AGAIN.

    The negative $4.1 million in unfunded liability is just from our first three years of operation. The books for the just closed out year will be audited and reported on this fall. Expect that 4.1 million to be right at $6.0 million. The Board knows this and if you were at the last school board meeting I challenged them to 1)inform the public of the true financial dilemma of CCSS and 2)to not delay any longer the need to address this upcoming frieght train.

    Just this past week St Landry Parish School System filed for financial emergency status. That legally allows them to begin draconian cuts inorder to stay afloat. Although there were many issues, the number one cause is unfunded medical liability cost for retiree’s.

    Given the above, how can this Board even remotely consider compensation.

    I do not want to come across here as an alarmist. Yes, we have issues that have to be addressed, and the sooner the better. We have a great community that I believe is willing to provide for the support this school system will need. We do have a few years of cushion but that is all. The time is now to pull together and get our financial house in order, not the time to begin discussion on Board Compensation.

  10. Another Central Residnet

    July 1, 2011 at 6:53 am

    Keith,

    I see what you mean by only $100K but right now Central High has insufficient parking for its student body. That $100K right now could be used to build more and better parking. The response I got from CCSS was basically it is being handled with limited permits this year and the School System does not plan on doing anything to add additional parking.

    What kind of message does that send the students. We want you to be the best so we can keep grade scores up so we continue to get top dollar state and federal dollars but we will not spend the necessary money so you can drive to school and enjoy your high school years like you are supposed to.

    I never thought I would say this but I wish the two School Board members that decided to not run would have. The two new ones are nothing but softies and fall in line with the Superintendents demands and wishes. Sounds a lot like our council and mayor.

    Just more political pandering.

  11. Maria L.

    July 1, 2011 at 7:36 am

    Mr. Holmes. Thank you for your great explanation. You are the type of person we need on the school board. Another Central Resident: Thank you for your comments about the new board members in your most recent post above. It seems that is a consensus on here that the current board members should not receive pay until after the next election. But somehow, I don’t think our opinions will matter when the vote is taken. Our school board president is so out of touch with the teachers and staff. Trust me, morale is very low in the system now. We just don’t have a voice on our school board.

  12. Mike Mannino

    July 1, 2011 at 7:47 am

    Keith thanks for the clear explanation on the unfunded Retirement ballon floating out there. I went to the audit presentation at the School Board Office and I was shocked to hear those numbers. The scary part as you said is that most of the existing balance came from EBR and it will be nearly impossible to chip away at this with a growing system. That is why I have been so adamant about slowing down the growth train. We have a steep hill to climb with the existing situation. Compound that with an overcrowded system and knowing we wont pass another tax and we have a recipe for disaster.

  13. Jon Simmons

    July 1, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Like every important issue, I hope everyone will get as informed as possible and then let your elected officials know what you think. The following is from an e-mail I sent yesterday to each of the Board members:

    I saw today that the School Board will consider compensation of board members at the July 11 meeting. I have several questions about this:
    – What does “consider” mean?
    – Can (or should) any compensation proposal be introduced and voted upon at the same meeting?
    – Shouldn’t this go to an appropriate committee first? Human Resources/Policies and/or (especially) Finance?
    – Is there anything in the present budget for Board pay?
    – When will details of any proposal be made available for the public?

    This issue has come up in previous discussions, and my opinion remains the same:
    – In general, I’m not innately opposed to the idea of paying members of a school board, although I understand in most systems comparable to ours, the members serve as volunteers.
    – Any compensation must be clearly defined and consistent with comparable governing bodies.
    – Obviously, the money must be available in the budget, with consideration toward the system’s financial future.
    – The board should strongly consider how a decision to begin paying themselves would be perceived in the existing economic climate by taxpayers, system employees & especially teachers.
    – No elected official should be able to raise (or establish) their own compensation package within their current term.

    Here in Central, every person who has campaigned for, won election to, or been appointed to the School Board has done so knowing that it was a nonpaid position. The voters who elected the current Board members knew the same. If the Board members decide to change this condition, it should not take effect until after the following election, so the voters can consider the members’ decisions as part of their evaluation.

  14. Another Central resident

    July 1, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Great post Jon. If they want compensation, they should campaign on that notion so the voters cand decide to keep or get rid of them.

  15. Maria L.

    July 1, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Mr. Simmons: Well put!

  16. Alton R Ashford

    July 1, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    I would like to change a word I used in my posts. Deserve. My thoughts were, you either do or don’t feel a/the school board should be compensated. Very simple. Having said that I would like to bow out from further postings on this subject because like Mr Mannino so eloquently stated, it is a sticky discussion and I guarantee I will step in it. A good barometer as to how the meeting might play out is a video of the 11/8/2010 school board meeting. Click on Schools up top, then on page 15 at the bottom. Mr Dave, concerning you last question to me, I don’t think there is a dilemma. One can be afforded at this time and one can’t!

    • dave

      July 1, 2011 at 11:14 pm

      Mr. Ashford. I know that board pay is less than teacher raises of Amy meaningful amount. Possibly one is affordable now, so I grant you that.
      Problem is, that still leaves the question of when the pay is effective. I will have much less problem supporting it if it goes into effect after the next elections.

  17. Alton R Ashford

    July 1, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    I guess I am gonna step in it. Why make the school board the fall guy for not funding the teachers a larger salary when in reality the responsibility falls on us, the taxpayers. Some people love to voice their support and love for teachers, police and firefighters in public. Close the curtain on the voting booth and its a different story.

    • dave

      July 2, 2011 at 1:34 pm

      Mr. Ashford,
      For me, this is not about teacher raises. The School Board is not necessarily the fall guy for teacher pay, and I see this as a separate issue. For me this is about elected officials voting for pay raises. If they are voting to have pay instituted after the next election, I would still have a problem with it if we can’t afford it, but I am open to seeing the concept debated in public since we have several years to put it in place for the next elected board.
      As for the current sitting Board, they all campaigned for these seats knowing there was no compensation, and that the only reason to be a School Board member was out of a desire to serve the children of this community. There is aparently no resolution available to be read that will indicate when pay would commence or even what that pay would be, so this is an especially difficult topic to debate. The presumption has to be that someone on the School Board wants to implement compensation at some point in time, because no action is needed to leave the positions unpaid.
      Dave

  18. Kim Fralick

    July 2, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Keith,

    Where did you get your information on the finances?

    • dave

      July 2, 2011 at 1:38 pm

      Kim,
      I’ll let Keith weigh in on that, but I will say that he probably is one of the most knowledgable people in Central when it comes to the School System’s finances. He has served on the finance committe, I believe since the inception of the system.
      Keith?

  19. Keith Holmes

    July 2, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Kim,
    Dave is correct that I have served on the Finance Committee from the beginning. Were there any specific questions you had? The best overall snap shot of our finances is the annual audit done in the fall of the prior year. The numbers I quoted regarding our liability for employee retirement medical benefits comes from that audit. We obviously began with zero liability and by three years it has grown to $4.1 million. Since we are another year older and have more employees, that number will grow to approximately $5.7 to $6.0 million. That represents how much we would have to put aside today in a trust fund earning interest to pay for the cost of medical benefits for our future retirees. Hope that makes sense.

    Our fund balance, i.e. the money we have in the bank, has steadily grown over the last four years but not at the rate that we can fund that cost. At some point in the next three years, our liabilities will be larger than our fund balance and we will have a negative net asset.

    The question is how to fund that expense on a recurring basis. The Board has yet to address that issue. There is not enough income from our current revenue streams to do so. That leaves only a few options, 1) raise taxes, which I doubt would pass in Central, 2) significant cuts in staffing raising the Pupil/Teacher ratio or 3) using our most prized asset, the land where the CMS sits on the corner of Sullivan and Hooper, to raise money. I personally favor number three. You could either sell the land to a developer and put the proceeds aside in a dedicate trust fund or lease the land to a developer and use the annual lease payments to fund the cost. Here again, I favor the leasing the land and having a recurring stream of revenue.

    Sorry if I got of topic. Again, I think that untill the Board addresses this issue and puts CCSS on the right track financially for the long term, they should serve without compensation. They ran for the office knowing there was no compensation. We have asked our teachers and support staff to go without raises and even in some sense take a pay cut as the inflationary cost of their medical benefits was completely placed on them. I find it hard to justify doing that and giving themselves a pay raise. Do they deserve it, that is a different debate.

  20. Alton R Ashford

    July 2, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Dave let me take a different angle on this topic. As stated by Mr Simmons this issue has come up several times in past meetings. There were two board members opposed to compensation and others who either seemed to want to be paid or have the option for future compensation. Many people have posted that if they vote for some type of compensation it shouldn’t become effective until this term has been completed. The reason stated was they all campaigned knowing these seats were uncompensated. The current board has two new members, Mr Loyd and Mrs Atkinson who campaigned for the seats left vacant by Mr Starns and Mr Guilbeau. ( the vocal opposition against pay). Mrs Foil had to run against Mr Edgins and retained her seat. The other 4 seats held by Mrs Browning, Mr Walker, Mr Easley and Mr Gardner were won without opposition. If four members didn’t have to campaign and one was re-elected with 60% of the vote, and all five voiced and/or voted in favor of some type of future compensation discussions, it seems, with the confidence their district displayed in them, they could be justified in voting themselves compensation.

  21. Another Central Residnet

    July 2, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Thanks for the info Keith. I am glad for your honesty.

    It appears that Central could be in the same situation as Livingston Parish in the not too distant future. Our taxes already are the highest so passing another tax will probably not work. I bet teachers will come knocking on my door to beg me to pass another tax while upper administration in the school system keeps making their pockets fat by giving themselves unnecessary raises. Every school system I have lived in follows this same model but can’t understand why they always end broke. They don’t care because they will always roll millage forward and beg the communities to give them more money because this time they will get things fixed.

    Selling CMS site is a temporary fix. If the land is not used for a school half of it goes back to the original owners who donated it. So how much land would be available to sell?

  22. Kim Fralick

    July 2, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    Thanks Keith for the Finance 101 class 🙂

  23. Keith Holmes

    July 2, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    Another Central Resident,

    Of the 28 acres that CMS sits on, approx 4.5 acres are deed restricted, the rest belongs to CCSS clear and free. There is even a good possiblity the family that oversees that restriction might be willing to donate the land to CCSS (it would make a nice tax write off). Obviously of the remaining 23.5 acres, a big chunk is taken up by the football complex which would have to stay because to build another one at a different site would be a dagger to many of heart here in Central and not even feasible economically. It still leaves ten or so acres that could be developed (just my rough, uneducated guess).

  24. kajun

    July 4, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Can any one tell me what the pay range is for teachers? Or where can I look to find it?
    Thanks

  25. Alton R Ashford

    July 4, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Kajun, Louisiana Dept of Education/ teachers salaries. It will give you the salaries of teachers in each school system by years of experience and education. The parishes are listed alphabetically and central community is after those. You can compare with other districts and go back 10-15 years.

  26. kajun

    July 7, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Thanks Mr. Ashford. I appreciate it.

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