August 14, 2022

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BREAKING: School Board agrees to give LaFargue $190,000 starting salary – American Press

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By Emily Burleigh

The Calcasieu Parish School board on Tuesday determined the provisions of newly named Superintendent Shannon LaFargue’s proposed contract.

After an hour of discussion, the board unanimously voted to accept LaFargue’s 2 1/2 year contract with one amendment.

Billy Breaux, District 13 representative, motioned to amend the contract’s proposed salary of $200,000.

LaFargue said the salary was based on metrics, and was predetermined before the interviews for the positions were conducted.

“This is a negotiation. That was a proposal based upon some metrics, but I definitely want the teachers to feel that I am going to support them,” LaFargue said. “I appreciate and value what they do in the trenches every day, and if this is a sticking point for our teachers, I’ll come down to whatever you guys want. That doesn’t matter to me right now. What matters to me is to get through this process and get to work.”

The proposed compensation was $25,000 above the advertised salary of $175,000. The proposed $200,000 salary was assessed as under market value by HUB TCG.

The main concerns over this salary considered the ratio between LaFargue’s proposed salary and the average Calcasieu Parish teacher’s salary.

The average salary of Calcasieu Parish teachers is ranked 12th statewide.

District 9 Representative Damon Hardstey addressed possible pushback.

“What is this going to look like to our teachers, our front line people?”

LaFargue agreed that getting teacher salaries bumped back up to a ranking within the top 5 of Louisiana teacher salaries was a goal. He also explained the proposed salary of $200,000 would rank about 12th among superintendent salaries statewide.

After deliberation, the School Board unanimously agreed to amend the contract to grant LaFargue $190,000 as compensation. LaFargue’s contract will maintain the 1.9 percent index increase on July 1. The negotiated salary does not include his expense allowance.

Though the School Board ultimately unanimously agreed to maintain the contract’s proposed 2 1/2 year length, there was debate regarding a possible decrease in term length.

There were concerns over teacher opinion and reception of LaFargue after a survey conducted by the Calcasieu Federation of Teachers found LaFargue was only preferred by 11 percent of teachers.

“We’re struggling to attract and retain teachers,” Breaux said. His concerns were based on the School Board’s focus to enact demanded change.

Eric Tarver, District 8 representative, countered that any amount of time less than two years would not be enough for LaFargue to prove his capabilities. Dean Roberts, District 6 representative; Glenda Gay, District 8 representative; and Mack Dellafosse, District 7 representative, agreed

“After the 1/2 year, Dr. LaFargue will have completed things already in progress,” Gay said. “After two years, we will see what he can do. He is going to have to adhere to things that have been agreed upon and are already in place.”

Dellafosse proposed utilizing the evaluation regulations already included in the contract to address any concerns that might arise during LaFargue’s term.

LaFargue was selected over Robert Barrentine to be the new superintendent on May 26 with an 8-7 vote.

Bliss Bujard, District 11 representative; Fred Hardy, District 2 representative; John Duhon, District 15 representative; and Mark Young, District 5 representative, were not present at the special-called meeting.

BREAKING: School Board agrees to give LaFargue $190,000 starting salary