Divided School Board gives self $2,400 raiseJan 28th, 2011 | By Michelle Provencher | Category: News
The St. Bernard Parish School Board barely passed a $200 per month raise for themselves in a 3-8 decision at this month’s board meeting, held on Jan. 26.
The raise will put the school board members’ monthly expense allowance on par with the 2008 Louisiana state mode of $800, up from $600. St. Tammany, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. Charles and Orleans are some of the parishes that also pay their school board members $800 monthly.
Some of the school board members said this increase is long overdue.
“It’s been 30 or 40 years since this base salary was set,” said School Board member Joseph Long, District 5. “This is a small adjustment that should have been done many years ago.”
Long reminded his fellow members that the board voluntarily stopped mileage reimbursement after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and also halted out of state travel for conferences and conventions.
Only School Board members Ronald Nicosia, District 10, Diana Dysart, District 7, and Sean Warner, District 4, opposed the pay raise.
Nicosia brought up the health and life insurance benefits the School Board receives in addition to their allowance.
“When we ran and qualified this year, everybody around this table knew what the salary was,” said Nicosia. “Based on (health) insurance cost and life insurance cost, I think we get paid fine.”
“If anything, we should push this back four years,” Nicosia said.
Other pressing business at the meeting was electing a President and Vice-President of the School Board.
Clifford Englande, District 8, was nominated by Dr. Hugh Craft, District 6, to fill the position as president for the second year in a row. Englande won the seat in a unanimous vote of the board.
“I want to thank the board members for having faith in me,” said Englande after the win.
The School Board President brought up some of the projects to be taken up or completed this year, such as the Cultural Arts Center opening in March and the new St. Mark Elementary School to be built.
Former School Board Vice-President, Diana Dysart, could not run for re-election as her two-year term limit was up.
Englande said Dysart had been his right arm last year.
Nicosia was unanimously voted in as the new vice-president.
“I really appreciate the board for giving me this opportunity,” said Nicosia. “Diane is leaving me with large shoes to fill. Anything I can do for the board members, please let me know.”
The next regularly scheduled St. Bernard School Board meeting will be Feb. 8 at 6 p.m. in the Education-Administration Office, 200 E. St. Bernard Highway.