The School Board voted 5-4 Wednesday night to upgrade three vacant human resource positions at the School System’s Central Office--not only in title, but in salary, as well.

Two of the positions will be upgraded from “Secretary I” to “Human Resources Data Technician.” The third position of “EARSS Operator” (Substitute Teacher Program) will also be changed to “Human Resources Data Technician.”

Before approving the upgrades the positions each garnered an annual salary of $29,126. The new salaries show an 11 percent increase to $32,308.

Assistant Director of Human Resources Suzanne Thibodeaux and Chief Administrative Officer Joe Craig stressed the importance of the responsibilities that the positions entail. In providing the raises, the administration is hoping to entice qualified applicants who wish to stay at LPSS and not leave for more lucrative roles elsewhere.

Board Member Jeremy Hidalgo echoed comments from some of the district’s administrators in saying that the positions are vacant because the HR personnel use those positions to earn training, but leave for the private sector.

They take this job because no one else is going to hire them because they are not trained,” Hidalgo said. “We’re the training ground. Then, they go to the private sector and make more money."

Board Members Tommy Angelle, Justin Centanni, Britt Latiolais, Mary Morrison and Hidalgo voted to approve the measure.

“HR is a very important component of this school system. Everything flows through it,” Hidalgo said.

School Board Member Tehmi Chaisson contested the raises because he said the board often considers raises for central office staff, but thwarts raises to the district’s paraprofessionals.

It’s another raise for another category, and then, another raise for another category, and folks submit their information (on) why they should make more money. And it’s always at the Central Office, “Chaisson said. “It’s never at the school level.”

Elroy Broussard, Erick Knezek, and Dawn Morris joined Chaisson in casting votes contesting the upgrades.

Chaisson noted that if there are people who are willing apply to serve as substitutes for the vacant positions under the current pay scale, then, there may not be a need to increase the salaries for the positions.

“We’re always on the pulpit, but I've yet to hear the choir sing for these janitors and custodians,” Chaisson said.

Craig said the existing HR staff is currently sharing the duties that fall under the umbrella of the three positions.

According to the report, the cost of funding the upgrade of these positions will be paid through the internal transfer of funds within the Human Resources budget. The cost is approximately $12,195.

The qualifications for the positions include a high school diploma, or GED; three years of experience in customer service experience; excellent computer skills; and proficiency in Microsoft Office.