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Concordia school board votes to increase own pay

VIDALIA — The last time Concordia Parish School Board members received a raise disco was in style, polyester was a major fashion trend and Star Wars fever was sweeping across the nation.

The more than 30-year stretch of no raises ended Thursday night at the CPSB meeting though, when board members voted to raise their pay in a 5-3 vote.

“I feel like all elected officials in the state got raises during the last election,” board member Raymond Riley said. “We have been gracious with our other employees’ raises, and I feel like in lieu of the fact the board hasn’t had one since the 70s, the time is right.”

Superintendent Loretta Blankenstein said board members previously received $350 a month for their services.

The vote will raise the monthly payment to $625 a month, Blankenstein said.

Riley said the board reviewed the compensation other school boards throughout the state make before reaching the raise amount.

“Unfortunately we have to vote to give the raise to ourselves,” he said. “It always looks bad when you give yourself a raise.”

Board President Gary Parnham said he thought the state needed to have the same standards for all school board members’ compensations.

Parnham and board members Darlene Baker and Cheryl Probst all voted against the raise.

Riley, and board members Martha Rabb, Daryle Price, Charles Minor and Mary Campbell voted for the pay raise.

Board member Fred T. Butcher passed on the vote.

In other news:

4 The board also discussed plans for Ferriday High School’s new football coach.

Former coach Chad Harkins tendered his resignation from the school earlier this week, and the board voted to accept his resignation.

“I have already met with the principal and assistant principal at the school,” Blankenstein said. “We discussed a plan on what we are going to be doing about hiring a new coach and we are all on the same page.”

Butcher said Blankenstein and FHS need to be careful when finding a new coach.

“We don’t need to have another situation like we did this time,” he said.

Butcher was referring to the short notice of resignation that Harkins gave the board.

“I don’t think he gave enough time to resign,” he said. “I think when you are going to leave you should at least have the courtesy to put in a two weeks notice.”

4 The board voted to approve the job description for an open data specialist position at the school board.

Now that the description is approved, the board can now advertise to fill the position.

4 The school board voted to approve the financial statement for the month of January in the amount of $4,642,566.

4 Citizenship awards for third, fourth and fifth graders from all schools in the parish were handed out at the meeting by Blankenstein.

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