Superintendent stands by decision to pay $300K to employees while schools were closed
PLAQUEMINE- Iberville Parish School Superintendent Arthur Joffrion is finally answering questions about nearly $300,000 in additional compensation the school district paid to employees while schools were closed for the pandemic.
Joffrion said Tuesday over the phone the money was well spent and the majority of it went to incentivize employees who helped keep the children fed while schools were closed. Joffrion said he stands behind his decision and would do it again.
Joffrion said 60 percent went to paying employees to feed the children by delivering and packaging meals, 25 percent went to instruction and the remainder went to making sure bills were paid.
The WBRZ Investigative Unit checked with other big districts in our area like East Baton Rouge, Livingston, Ascension and West Baton Rouge. All of them told us they paid no overtime. Many of them were also providing meals during the pandemic.
We requested a list of employees who received overtime from the Iberville Parish School System during the COVID-19 closure. Approximately 430 of them received some additional compensation, even though they collected their regular salaries.
One employee told WBRZ he received additional money and did no additional work.
"I was wondering what was going on because I didn't do anything," the employee said.
Joffrion said any employee who thinks they didn't deserve the money should return it. He also claimed that employees had to fill out timesheets for the extra hours they worked.
"I feel like it's not being put to good use," the employee said. "No one is actually working for it. People are getting free money, and I don't think that's fair for taxpayers to just have their money thrown around. I don't think it's a good look for the school board."
Joffrion said he did not want to comment on other districts that managed to pull off what he did without paying any additional overtime.
"It's not my place to comment on other districts," Joffrion said.
Despite Joffrion's decision to pay employees additional compensation, some school board members said they were left in the dark about it. A meeting is scheduled for next week to come up with policies to prevent this from happening again.