WPSB Addresses Teacher Pay and MHS School Building Funding Requests
Written by Mark Chreene on July 11, 2023
Teacher pay and a large additional request of funds from the ELA Group for the ongoing Minden High School multipurpose building project highlighted the July meeting of the Webster Parish School Board.
In June, Board Members agreed to have on the agenda and vote in the July meeting to move teachers to their appropriate step on the pay scale. Steps were frozen ten years ago and in 2017, the pay was unfrozen however, employees were not moved to their step based on their years of service, but rather where they left off when the pay was frozen. It was noted in the Finance Committee meeting held prior to the meeting that the state is currently in an “insurance crisis.” The property insurance that the system currently pays is going to increase two to three times what they currently pay. Another concern. The cost of the moving employees up to their current step will cost the district general fund $241,000.
Crevonne Odom, Director of Finance, gave the board members three options: 1) Table the agenda item and let Mrs. Odom look at the final end of the year numbers and vote in August. 2) Vote tonight and go into this without the final numbers. 3)Restore the steps in a two year increment: Move employees up three steps this year and then three steps the following year. In the regular meeting Board Member Ronnie Rhymes made a motion to approve the step increase proposal for employees affected by the salary freeze. Board Member Jana Watson seconded the motion. Board Member Jerry Lott then made a substitute motion to table the motion until August with Margaret Edens seconding the substitute motion. A vote was taken on the substitute motion with 8 board members: Jerry Lott, Margaret Edens, Charles Strong, Johnnye Kennon, Glenda Broughton, Susan Addington, Jeri Lee, and Linda Kinsey voting for tabeling and 3 Board Members: Jana Watson, Ronnie Rhymes, and Jonathan Guthrie voting against. Board Member Debbie Thomas was in attendance virtually, but did not vote.
Board members also voted 11 – 0 to deny the request for ELA Group for additional funding in the amount of $974,728.69, for the Minden High School Multi-Purpose Building Project.
In other business, the Board approved:
- to advertise for bids for Alterations to J.E. Harper Pathways to Excellence Center, Barber School Addition, project. Funding source will be through ESSR Funds.
- to authorize Superintendent, Johnny Rowland, to enter into a contract with Yeager, Watson, and Associates, LLC, for the purpose of having them provide design and construction administration services for a project to construct a food service freezer at the Webster Parish School Board Office. Funding source will be the Parish Wide Maintenance Fund.
- update record keeping procedures.
Approved expenditures by district that were approved were:
Request for Consolidated District 3 Maintenance Fund:
- Ratify for payment Invoice #13064 from Mechanical Cooling Services to repair lightening damage to the chiller at Lakeside Junior/Senior High School in the amount of $6,340.
Request for Cotton Valley Maintenance Fund:
- Approval for North Webster Upper Elementary School to purchase office furniture from BMS in the amount of $1,410.46.
Request for Springhill Maintenance Fund:
- Approval to accept Change Order #1 for the alterations to Browning Elementary School in the amount of $4,948.33. Funding source will be either ESSER funds or Springhill Maintenance Fund depending on the ESSER fund balance.
- Approval to ratify for payment Invoice #7247 from Homeland Safety Systems to repair damage caused by an outside utility pole being hit and damaged by a big truck at North Webster High School in the amount of $4,369.47.
- Approval to accept the quote from Putman Enterprises for $4004.10 to clean 8898 square feet of carpeted area at North Webster High School.
- Approval to accept the quote from Sexton Tree Services for $9,780.00 to remove seven problematic trees at Browning Elementary School.
Request for District 6 ½ cent Maintenance Fund:
- Approval to ratify for payment Invoice # 1 – 129524216921 from Johnson Controls to repair two leaking dielectric unions on the HVAC system at Minden High School in the amount of $3,129.42.
- Approval to ratify for payment Invoice #161927 from Fitzgerald Contractors to unplug sewer system and install cleanouts at Minden High School in the amount of $2,495.96.
- Approval to accept the quote from Diversifire for $133,550.00 to upgrade the unrepairable Bogen Intercom and Phone System with the Bogen Nyquest Intercom and Phone System at Minden High School.
- Approval to accept the proposal from Camus Electric to install 46 dimmable LED light kits in the Minden High School auditorium for $18,826.00.
Doyline Maintenance Fund
- Approval for Doyline High School to accept the proposal from Homeland Safety in the amount of $4,875.00 to install a door intercom, remote locking system, and keypad for the front door of the school.
Sarepta Maintenance Fund:
- Approval to accept the proposal from Ad Signs to build and install a sign for the Zolon Stiles Stadium at North Webster Junior High School in the amount of $870.00.
The next board meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 7, 2023.