The superintendent of the Evangeline Parish School System gave his teachers and other employees some great news on Wednesday.

In a letter to the district's employees, superintendent Darwan Lazard said the district had an excess in sales tax collections, allowing the district to provide a bonus to full-degreed employees. In that letter, Lazard wrote:

I have calculated the amount per employee to be $5,897.67 for full-time degreed personnel and $2,653.95 for full-time support personnel.

That's not a mistype. Full-time degreed employees, including teachers and principals, will each receive a nearly $6,000 bonus, while degreed support staff will get more than $2,600 in extra pay.

Only employees who have been with the Evangeline Parish School System since the 2020-21 fiscal year and who are still actively employed will receive the full check. Employees who have worked less than one half of their contracts will receive half of the bonus amount. Employees who were on leave without pay or who were on worker's compensation during the 2020-21 school year will not receive a bonus, nor will former employees who left the school system after the 2020-21 fiscal year. Employees hired after June 30, 2021 are also ineligible to receive the bonus.

This bonus is essentially an early Christmas present for employees. This money will be deposited into eligible employees' bank accounts on November 19.

The full letter from Lazard to the school district's employees is below.

Courtesy: Evangeline Parish School Board

So, how is the district able to find the funds to issue this type of bonus to its employees?

"When this tax was adopted, it dedicated the excess revenue to the employees of Evangeline Parish," Superintendent Lazard said. "We're excited to give this bonus to our employees. It's a testament to our employees, to shopping locally, and to working with our businesses to make sure that our taxes are put into proper use."

Lazard says this year's bonus amount is proof that the parish's economy is on the mend post-pandemic.

"This makes a strong statement about the economy in Evangeline Parish," Lazard said. "We are just so delighted that business and education are partnering together to make some great things happen. We have an initiative with the chamber of commerce. We're encouraging our employees--because we are the largest employer in Evangeline Parish--to shop in Evangeline. When you shop in Evangeline, this is what can happen.

"This is an example of the rising tide in Evangeline Parish," Lazard added. "This is good for education. It's good for business. It's good for everyone."

Superintendent Darwan Lazard (Courtesy: Evangeline Parish School Board)

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