Home » Webster Parish School Board approves land exchange and teacher pay stipend distribution

Webster Parish School Board approves land exchange and teacher pay stipend distribution

by Amber McDown

The Webster Parish School Board convened a special called meeting on March 18, discussing a proposed land exchange with the City of Minden and the distribution of the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) differentiated teacher pay stipend. All board members were present.

Paul Kitchens of Kitchens Law Firm presented details of the proposed land exchange, involving Griffith Stadium and a city water plant building on Constable Street. The exchange would see the City of Minden transferring ownership of Griffith Stadium to the school district in exchange for the property on Constable Street. Both properties now encompass 3.84 acres. Kitchens stated, “The concept is that there would be no money paid by either side because of the exact equivalency of the acreage.” The board voted unanimously to adopt a resolution authorizing Superintendent Rowland to finalize the exchange of deeds. Notably, the parking lot of Griffith Stadium will not be part of the exchange, but the board intends to formalize arrangements for its continued use for baseball games.

Additionally, the board approved an invoice for field dirt for the batting cage at Lakeside Jr/Sr High School. Jonathan Guthrie of District 4 expressed gratitude to Glen Warren, CW&W Contractors, and Monday’s Oilfield for their donations of several loads of dirt for the project.

Regarding the distribution of the LDOE’s differentiated teacher pay stipend, totaling $144,340, the board considered four options mandated by the LDOE. These options include: Option 1 for Teachers in Critical Shortage per BESE, Option 2 for Highly Effective Teachers based on fiscal year 2022-2023 evaluations and assessments, Option 3 for teachers working in schools with an economically disadvantaged rate of 85% or more, and Option 4 for teachers in leadership positions. Up to 303 teachers in Webster Parish may be eligible.

After consulting with the Teacher Advisory Council, the board decided to utilize all four options to ensure the maximum number of teachers could receive the stipend. They also opted for multiple payments, meaning teachers qualifying for more than one option would receive the stipend for each area they qualify for. The exact number of eligible teachers is yet to be determined, but it is estimated that each teacher could receive around $470 per qualified option. For instance, a teacher qualifying for both Option 1 and Option 3 would receive a stipend of $940. Susan Addington of District 12 was the sole dissenting vote against this distribution method.

The next regular meeting of the Webster Parish School Board is scheduled for April 1 at 6 PM at the school board office, and it is open to the public.

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