This legislative session we saw an onslaught of damaging bills, aimed at weakening public education and undermining teachers’ voices. Many of our elected legislators who praised teachers as heroes at the beginning of the pandemic are now working to defund schools and micromanage teachers’ lesson plans. Thankfully, many of these bills failed to pass, but make no mistake, these attacks will continue.
Under John White’s tenure, LDOE created this problem by not fully understanding the law and passing a series of legislation that contradicted federal standards as late as 2018.
Now, LDOE is working to pass this legislation that would allow them to process background checks for all current teachers and all future teachers at the time of certification or recertification, in addition to the background checks teachers already get when they become student teachers and when they're hired. This means that new teachers would have to get the same background check three times, and they’d have to pay for it out of their own pocket.
As Dr. Brumley said in his letter, “we should listen to classroom teachers” – so use this opportunity to let him know what you and your coworkers really need to be successful educators.
LFT and LAE leadership partnered to host a small delegation of local leaders at the Capitol. Our member leaders had the opportunity to be a part of committee meetings and speak directly to their legislators about the proposed pay increase and the struggles educators are facing in the classroom. Members discussed the importance of the proposed pay increase for teachers and school employees. They urged Senators to follow recommendations from the Governor and BESE to use newly recognized revenue to increase the raise, in order to better match what neighboring states have passed. Overall, it was an opportunity for legislators to hear directly from classroom teachers about how legislation has impacted the teaching and learning experience in our schools. Click here to see more.
On Sunday afternoon, the Senate Finance Committee met to deliberate and approve the budget bill, along with supplementary appropriations legislation. The Minimum Foundation Program, which is the funding formula for Louisiana public schools, is a part of the $39 million budget discussed on Sunday. The current MFP proposal includes a $1,500 raise for teachers and $750 for support staff. The Governor’s office, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education as well as educational stakeholders like LFT have requested that the legislature invest part of the additional revenue recognized at the May REC meeting into additional raises for teachers and school employees.
Despite outcry from thousands of teachers and support staff, the Senate Finance Committee did not vote to increase the educator raise.
Senate Finance Set to Determine Your Raise
On Sunday afternoon, the Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to deliberate the budget bill (HB 1) and they will determine how much money to allocate for teacher and school employee raises. If the Senate doesn’t fund raises in the budget, then teachers and school employees aren’t getting raises this year, so this is very important!
Click here to ask the Senate Finance Committee to support additional raises for teachers & school employees.
On Monday, May 9th the Revenue Estimating Conference met to review and revise the Official Revenue Forecast for FY22 and FY23 as well as recognize FY21 year-end balances. The REC recognized an additional $350 million in revenue for this year (and $104 million for next year).
Now, the question is: how will the legislature choose to use this additional funding?
On Monday morning the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) will meet to review and revise the Official Revenue Forecast for FY22 and FY23 as well as recognize FY21 year-end balances. It is widely expected that the REC will recognize additional revenue. The question is, how will the legislature choose to spend this additional revenue.
LFT has long advocated that some of these additional monies should go towards teacher and school employee pay raises. We have asked legislators to boost the pay raise from $1,500 for certified staff and $750 for classified personnel to $2,500/$1,250 as a minimum. In truth, teachers and school employees deserve even more and as neighboring states continue to boost pay for their educators, Louisiana falls further behind. Next week, legislators will know how much additional revenue they have to work with and the horse-trading will begin.
It is widely acknowledged that there will be funding available for additional pay increases. To increase the pay raise, the Legislature would have to vote to return the MFP to BESE so that BESE can amend it. BESE has already agreed to the increase, so the decision rests with the Legislature, and some are already pushing back against further increases, claiming there isn’t enough money to go around.
Meanwhile, the legislature has taken up a number of bills that limit or redirect funding that could otherwise be used for our public schools...
In an effort to address the decade-old teacher shortage, numerous bills aimed at enticing retired teachers back to the classroom have been filed. While these bills are getting a lot of attention right now because of the teacher shortage, RTW laws have impacted TRSL since 1957.
Over the years, some of these bills have been so extreme that they threatened the long-term financial stability of TRSL. Currently, there are a few options that are modest in their reach and unlikely to cause damage to the system. They may even encourage a few teachers to come out of retirement and return to the classroom in the short term, but they offer no solution to the crippling teacher shortage that is currently plaguing our schools. Over the last few months, BESE members, legislators, and other officials have touted the idea of retirees returning to the classroom as a solution to the teacher shortage. In truth, the number of retired teachers who chose to return to the classroom has decreased dramatically over the last ten years.
✔️ HB 510: Ending the Onslaught of Trainings
✔️ HB 363: Teacher Voice in SLTs
✔️ HB 98: Amended
✔️ SB 151: Preserving Local Control of ITEP
✔️ HB 819: Extending Maternal Health Leave to All Employees
❌ HB 986: Privatizing Food Services in Schools
❌ SB 145: Eliminating Local Input in Corporate Charter Schools
➡️ Six Opportunities to TAKE ACTION