School board asks teachers to be patient about pay

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 6, 2001

Tuesday, February 06, 2001

The Natchez Democrat

VIDALIA, La. – As Concordia Parish’s two teacher unions poll

their members in preparation for a possible sickout, school board

members are pleading with the teachers to be patient.

&uot;You all try to hang with us please,&uot; said Concordia

School Board President Mike Grantham.

During Tuesday’s regular board meeting, school board members

approved a good faith resolution in response to the possibility

of a sickout.

&uot;(We’re) asking employees to be patient until the Legislature

does something before taking any job action,&uot; said Superintendent

Lester &uot;Pete&uot; Peterman.

The board members support a teacher raise but they are asking

&uot;for all the organizations to be patient.&uot;

Two teacher unions have local chapters in Concordia Parish:

the Concordia Association of Educators and the Concordia Federation

of Teachers.

JoAnn Gardner, president of the CFT, attended Tuesday’s meeting.

&uot;We do have surveys out at this time to see if there is enough

support in a nine-parish area to support a sickout,&uot; she

said.

The CFT wants to make sure people want to enter the teaching

profession in upcoming years.

&uot;We’re thinking about the future,&uot; Gardner said.

&uot;We’re worried about the profession. We’re worried too about

the children of today but also the children of tomorrow.&uot;

Peterman said he understands the teachers’ situation.

&uot;They’ve been patient a long time and they’ve been made

a lot of promises and none of (those) promises have been kept,&uot;

he said. &uot;They’re frustrated, and they’re wanting the governor

and the Legislature to follow through on their promises.&uot;

The school board gave the district the authority Tuesday to

modify the 2000-01 calendar in the event of a sickout. Dates for

a sickout have not been set.

The state Legislature will hold a special session starting

March 5 to vote on gambling taxes that would give each teacher

about a $2,000 raise.

Peterman said the state is considering taking $1,000 of the

raise for each teacher from the minimum foundation program, a

fund he says cannot adequately meet that need without putting

financial stress on other areas of the district.