Louisiana teachers will get pay raise after bill wins final passage

(WMC Action News 5)
Updated: Jun. 3, 2019 at 3:06 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Teachers will get a $1,000 pay raise for the 2019-20 school year after House representatives unanimously passed legislation calling for the raises Monday, June 3.

The House passed the school financing plan with a 103 to 0 vote, ending a stalemate between House Republicans and Governor John Bel Edwards.

“Today’s an exciting day: the first pay raise our teachers and support staff have had in many years has passed the Legislature," Edwards said. "Only one hurdle for this raise remains in the Legislature and that’s approval of the budget bill that supports this raise and the increase to the MFP per pupil amount. As we enter the final days of the legislative session, we have a chance to invest in education at every level, from early childhood all the way through higher education. We’re heading in the right direction and I appreciate all of the members of the Legislature who joined the fight for our teachers and our students.”

The legislation will raise spending on public schools by $140 million in the 2019-20 school year, with $1,000 devoted to teacher salaries and $40 million devoted to per pupil spending increases.

School support workers will also get $500 raises. The vote simplifies the final days of budget negotiations for lawmakers, who have now solved this session’s biggest debate.

House Republicans had previously proposed a $1,200 raises for teachers, but did not include the extra $40 million for school districts. They argued teachers are paid below the regional average and should therefore be prioritized above per pupil funding, which is around the average.

The state school board and the governor wanted the $40 million, which some school districts will use to offer teachers even better salaries. The clock essentially ran out on negotiations, and the governor’s proposal won out.

Lawmakers applauded final passage on the House floor.

“Teachers deserve it, actually they deserve much more. This is a start," Karen Carter Peterson, chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party said. “Teacher pay raises are an investment in the future of our state by investing in our most valuable resource - our children.”

Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE) President Debbie Meaux called the passage a “great day” for Louisiana’s educators and students.

“By securing funding to provide our school professionals with permanent increases in pay, we take the first step toward getting the salaries of these dedicated women and men up to the levels of their colleagues in surrounding states,” Meaux said. “Recruiting and retaining these types of professionals to work with our children is one of the most important investments we can make for our students. Additionally, including dollars ($39 million) for school district aid will help to enhance our educators’ working conditions and our students’ learning conditions."

Session ends on June 6.

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