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La. teachers react to newly proposed pay raises

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 10:44 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) approved revisions to the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) formula to increase proposed teacher and support personnel pay raises but is it enough?

RELATED: BESE revises MFP formula to increase proposed pay raises for La. teachers and support personnel

The changes are expected to increase teacher pay raises to $800 and support personnel raises to $400.

“I was pleased that we did move up a notch in terms of salary,” said Angela Reams-Brown, president of the EBR Federation of Teachers.

Reams-Brown said it’s a start in the right direction but she’s not satisfied.

“One of the things that the governor promised when we assisted in helping him to get re-elected was that he would try his best to move the EBR teachers and support workers up to the Southern regional average. This will not do it,” Brown explained.

She added the gap between what Louisiana teachers make and the average salary for teachers throughout the South is still wide.

Recent data shows teachers in the state were paid an average of just over $50,000 for the 2018-19 school year, compared to nearly $55,000 across the 16-state region.

“We do appreciate it but most teachers have to get second jobs if they’re single, sometimes even a third job, or try to get sponsors to provide things for the classrooms because a lot of times, we do go out of our pockets,” said Tannesha Williams, a teacher at Broadmoor High School.

Some teacher advocates now fear that students will suffer if schools can’t attract the “cream of the crop” and that fewer people will decide to become teachers.

“Over the last couple of years, the numbers are getting smaller. Not only aren’t individuals going into education, those that are aren’t staying,” Williams added.

She said $800 will more than likely circle right back into the classroom instead of going towards things like bills and other finances.

“It’s a shame that finances play a significant role but there are a lot that may major in education and do it for five years and get out because it’s not enough money,” Williams explained.

Williams said she knows teaching is never for the money but it all comes down to how much love you have for it.

“The thing about it is where your heart lies and what difference do you really want to make,” said Williams.

This is a look at the revised MFP formula that was approved:

  • Maintains the base per pupil amount of $4,015 provided in Level 1 of the current MFP (SCR 3/2019)
  • Continues the $1,000 pay increase for classroom teachers and other certificated personnel provided in 2019-2020, plus the current annual retirement contribution rate
  • Continues the $500 pay increase for non-certificated personnel provided in 2019-2020, plus the current annual retirement contribution rate
  • Provides an across-the-board pay raise of $800 for classroom teachers and other certificated personnel for FY 2021-2022, plus the current annual retirement contribution rate
  • Provides an across-the-board pay raise of $400 for non-certificated personnel for FY 2021-2022, plus the current annual retirement contribution rate
  • Removes the allocation for $2,000 certificated mentor teacher stipends in Level 4 of the formula

The board has also requested that if the Revenue Estimating Conference identifies more funding during the state budgeting process, the Legislature would consider increasing teacher pay raises even more and fund the $2,000 Certified Mentor Teacher stipends that were included in the original formula.

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