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|Pastorek reverses position on teacher merit pay|
State Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek recently reversed his position on the merits of a national certification program for teachers that adds some $5,000 a year to their yearly salaries.
In an effort to cut costs, a budget proposed by the Jindal administration calls for the elimination of the $5,000 stipend for public school teachers who have earned national certification. Pastorek's new position supports the proposal to get rid of monetary awards to nationally certified teachers after touting the program last year as necessary to create a top-notch education system.
That means local cash-strapped school districts will have to pick up the tab for these stipends to reward public school teachers who have earned national certification—an important asset in the efforts to improve public schools, according to school superintendent Lanny Johnson.
As of December, Louisiana had 1,532 nationally certified teachers including—two in Franklin Parish—at a cost of $10,000 to the local school district.
"This is one of those programs the state bails out on and leaves to the local school board to find the $10,000," Johnson said.
We're looking at a $1 million budget shortfall this year and possibly a $2 million shortfall next year," Johnson said. "These are not good times at all and it's looking to get worse."
A superintendent's conference is scheduled this weekend in Monroe to discuss these and other issues facing local school boards.
In other news, the board passed a motion to award the bid to refurbish the roof at Winnsboro Elementary. Roof Masters of Monroe will re-roof the auditorium, cafeteria, classrooms and the Head Start facilities for a cost of $212,848.
The Ogden School campus is available for sale after a reappraisal. The board recently approved a motion to accept bids of $40,000 or more for the campus and buildings.
Students in parish schools will begin taking standardized tests in March, Johnson said. "The first half will begin in two weeks, and the iLeap tests will be given after the Easter break."