Lafayette public schools 2022-2023 budget has focus on staff retention and recruitment; see details | Education

The Lafayette Parish School Board approved its 2022-2023 combined budget on Wednesday night, including more than $325 million in general fund dollars to operate the district and its schools.

The $646 million total budget includes operating expenses, debt service and construction funding, among other areas. The budget was passed in a 5-0 vote; board members Elroy Broussard, Tehmi Chassion, Kate Labue and Mary Morrison were absent.

Spending in the 2022-2023 budget included a focus on recruiting and retaining staff across the district through raises and special stipends.

A 2% raise for employees was included to counteract inflation. On top of that, a 4.7% additional raise was included for employees paid as crafts and trades employees in the district, which includes custodians and cafeteria workers. The raise would bring custodial salaries to $10 an hour, the budget said.

A budget note mentioned the district’s difficulty recruiting and retaining staff in these areas.

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At a March meeting, the school board approved using federal COVID-19 relief funds to offer three stipends to attract and retain teachers in 12 difficult to staff schools across the district. Two of the stipends will pay up to $5,000 and the third will pay up to $4,000; teachers are eligible to receive more than one stipend.

The 2022-2023 budget also includes expenditure of the final USDA funds available for Southside High School. The funds were left over from a $78 million U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development community facilities direct loan that helped fund construction of the school.

Extensions for spending the funds were obtained; the district is currently requesting a final waiver from the USDA to extend the spending period from August to August 2023.

Next fiscal year’s budget would spend the remaining $327,487 set aside for the high school on classroom furniture and technology, an outdoor covered area with furniture and an electrical panel box.

The district also projects to funnel $1.38 million in local revenue to area charter schools in anticipation of an additional 150 students enrolling in the charter schools. The growth is projected because of Lafayette Renaissance Charter Academy’s expanding high school program. The school is currently in a temporary facility, with a permanent school under construction.


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