Louisiana’s top school board votes yes today, for Governor John Bel Edwards’ plan to increase the pay of educators. All present members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education or BESE backed the k-12 public schools financing formula. This includes a $1,000 pay raise across-the-board raise for teachers. He is also pushing a $500.00 raise for cafeteria workers, bus drivers and other support staff.
Board President Dr. Gary Jones says a lot of the board members are made up of either current or former teachers so there was never any question about support for the teacher pay raises.
“This was a pretty unified front. The superintendents wanted it, the school boards wanted it, the governor wanted it, most of the Legislatures I talked to agreed that it needs to be done,” says Dr. Gary Jones, BESE board president.
The average teacher across the state makes about $49,745, which the governor says is about 22 dollars less than the southern regional average.
The formula now moves to state law makers for the legislative session that starts in April.
The governor’s proposal affects grades K through 12 in Louisiana.
The Office of the Governor released this statement about today’s decision by BESE:
“I join the hardworking teachers, support personnel and students across our state in sincerely thanking all the members of BESE for their unanimous approval of my proposal. Today’s vote was a necessary and important step in getting closer to making a well-deserved and long overdue raise a reality. It’s one part of a multi-year process to bring teacher pay in Louisiana up to that of other southern states. And we cannot overlook the value of every person who has a hand in helping to create an environment conducive to learning in our schools, from the cafeteria staff to those who keep the classrooms clean. Everyone can point to a teacher who has helped them succeed in life, and now it’s our turn to show them our support in a very tangible way. Additionally, we know that a pay raise will enable Louisiana to attract the best and brightest to this noble profession. I’m very encouraged by BESE’s action and believe that we will see the same success in the legislature. I am ready to work with all state lawmakers to get this done.”
Louisiana has reported teacher shortages in nearly every subject area since 2004. According to a 2018 study by the U.S. Department of Education, 94 percent of teachers spend their own money on school supplies without reimbursement due to a lack of sufficient funding in the classroom.
As part of his multi- year plan in K-12 investment, Gov. Edwards is proposing a $1000 pay raise this year for teachers and a $500 raise for school support personnel. In addition, he is also proposing a 1.375% increase in the per-pupil allocation of Level 1 of the MFP. In the last ten years, there has been only one pay raise and one increase in the MFP.