The Lafayette Parish School Board voted to provide all full-time and part-time LPSS employees a one-time stipend for the efforts to operate and maintain its schools during the ongoing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The stipend also aids in attracting and retaining LPSS employees who will ensure the continued success in facing the upcoming challenges of this pandemic that lie ahead.
Eligible employees can receive a stipend up to the amount of $2,000 depending upon their attendance at work. Funding of this stipend is made possible through stimulus bills passed by Congress funding school districts through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. In December of 2020, the second round of funding was allocated through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRSSA) Act.
The amount of ESSER funds is approximately $8.8 million. Allowable expenditures indicate that a school system can use ESSER II funding to provide stipend pay for faculty and staff. These stipends must relate "to preventing, preparing for, and responding to coronavirus." The listing of examples of allowable one time stipends includes: additional compensationto teachers and other staff that work in-person, additional compensation to teachers and other staff that have assumed new duties because of the pandemic, andone-time stipends to address pandemic-related recruitment or retention challenges.
Superintendent Irma Trosclair states, “No doubt this past year has been one filled with challenges for-not some - but all of our employees. Every one of our employees assumed new responsibilities due to COVID-19 in order to maintain a safe learning environment for our students. Our staff members did what was necessary whether that was changing instruction delivery to virtual platforms, taking temperatures, sanitizing desks & facilities, providing drive through meals, running additional bus routes, or developing new processes. This work will not end when schools close in May, but will continue as LPSS employees work to prepare for safe learning in the upcoming school year. I am grateful that our board members recognize these efforts and supported our proposal to allocate funding for this allowable expense."