Proposal to redistribute sales tax money that gives bonuses to teachers, goes before Blue Ribbon committee

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A heated debate was expected at the Lafayette Parish School Board meeting on Wednesday.

The issue – a proposal to redistribute sales tax money that gives bonuses to teachers.

The president of the Lafayette Chapter of the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana, Juanita Hall, knows about the recommendation to give a portion of the checks to future increases.

However, she’s has questions about the 20 percent being proposed before the board.

Hall says the recommendation of a percentage amount first needs to go to the Blue Ribbon Committee before it hits the full board.

“Can this be a guarantee, and if it’s not a guarantee can you tell me why?”

Hall added. “Why is this decision being made?”

She says with an uncertain economy can the increases be kept up with a 20 percent giving. If not, then who will pay to keep the increases flowing.

“This 20 percent – is it a guarantee that the teachers would get an increase in their check.”

Melinda Mangham was active in the passing of the 2002 half-cent sales tax that pays for the supplemental check for teachers.

Mangham is also a member of the Blue Ribbon Committee that oversees the management of those tax dollars.

“We are one of the riches parishes in the state and yet our teachers are not paid on that same level. We have a tremendous shortage of teachers and one of the reason for doing this tax was to be able to attract and retain very strong teachers,” Mangham said.

Mangham has always made her stance clear. She says the original intent of the tax money is to increase teacher salaries and that’s what she supports.

“The reason for doing this tax was to be able attract and retain very strong teachers.”

The Lafayette Parish School Board agreed during Wednesday’s meeting to take the proposal to the blue ribbon committee before having a full board discussion.

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