- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 7, 2015

HOUMA, La. (AP) - Officials say more than 100 new certified teachers are at work in Terrebonne Parish public schools less than a year after the district employed as many untrained teachers.

Terrebonne Parish School Board Supervisor of Personnel Debra Yarbrough tells The Courier (https://bit.ly/1HKv0ed) the district has added a net growth of 70 certified teachers since January. The district hired about 100, while another 30 retired or left the district.

About 30 uncertified teachers now remain.

To be certified, teachers must meet all state standards to teach a particular subject.

Last December, voters approved a half-cent sales tax to revise district employees’ salaries. Teachers received an increase of $4,000 per year, while support workers will receive a $2,000 per year raise.

Yarbrough showed the board’s Education Committee video clips of the three television advertisements Monday as part of the district’s Teach for Terrebonne campaign. The three ads feature the district’s three Teachers of the Year, including state finalist for Middle School Teacher of the Year Summer Skarke of Lacache Middle.

“We’re doing well. We have vacancies and we’re still recruiting,” Yarbrough said.

In November, the district employed more than 100 uncertified teachers across 25 of its 36 schools. By comparison, Lafourche only employed five uncertified teachers.

At the time, Terrebonne schools Superintendent Philip Martin said a starting salary that ranked in the lower third of the state was to blame. He spent much of the past year promoting awareness of the issue ahead of December’s tax.

In 2013, a community task force said teacher recruitment and retention was the most pressing issue facing the district and recommended the board ask voters to approve the sales tax.

In May, the district hired more than 40 teachers at a career fair at H.L. Bourgeois High School.

As a result, Lafourche school officials have begun talks of raising teacher salaries to remain competitive.


Information from: The Courier, https://www.houmatoday.com

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