The Lafayette Parish School Board is being asked to consider pay raises for Para Professionals; otherwise known as a teacher assistant. The group on behalf of the Para Professionals is asking for a pay grade increase. Robin Robinson is the vice president of the Lafayette Parish Para-Professionals Organization.
Robinson Wednesday told the school board there are 800 Para Professionals within the parish school system; and like teachers, when the job demands more qualifications most of the Para Professionals go and get it. However unlike teachers, Robinson said Para Professionals are less likely to be financially compensated for it.
“These are my diplomas. These are through seven different kidney stones, a $1,200 check, five children, three hurricanes, two moves, one husband and six schools,” said Robinson.
Robinson explained to the board her certifications and diplomas came with a price. She said she used most of her VA loans and 100 plus thousand dollars in student loans. “As the president said before, everybody is looking for a compensable living wage; something to where they don't have to work a 2nd or 3rd job,” explains Robinson.
Billy Guidry is the Lafayette Parish School System's Chief Financial Officer. Guidry, as requested by the board, agreed to calculate what it would cost to give Para Professionals within the school system a pay raise. “We appreciate that. That's a start because for the last 3 to 4 years we have been asking them to at least look at it. That's a foot in the door. It will give us a chance to explain why we need it or just for them to look at it; and say we can at least make it compensable to the regional average,” adds Robinson.