WASHINGTON PARISH, La. (WGNO) — The Washington Parish School Board unanimously approved two stipends appropriated by the state legislature for its staff on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

One stipend is for all certified parish teachers for $2,000, and the other is for support staff such as bus drivers and cafeteria personnel for $1,000.

Superintendent Frances Varnado says she hopes this is just the start of new funds going to her staff, who have been protesting for higher pay since last week.

“It’s important right now to keep adding because it’s important that our children are in school each day and without our staff, the teachers, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, paras and custodians, we’re not successful. So, we need everybody playing their part in order for our kids to be successful,” Varnado said.

The state stipends did not go to pre-k teachers due to funding reasons.

However, the parish board members did not want to leave them empty handed, so they matched the $2,000 stipends themselves.

“The funding did not cover pre-k teachers because they’re not MFP; therefore, we picked up the difference with our ESSER funds to make sure all our employees received a stipend,” Varnado said.

With Washington Parish school faculty members continuing to fight for pay raises, Varnado says she is happy that she was able to provide this money to her staff.

She says she hopes to approve even more money for her staff on Thursday, when the board considers proposals to add more employee compensation.

“We’re very excited about getting money in their pockets tonight. It will be in their accounts on Friday, and hopefully Thursday night, everything will be successful, and we can help make things better for the upcoming school year,” Varnado said.

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