Budget surplus leaves room for more teacher raises but La. educators still have long way to go
BATON ROUGE - With yet another budget surplus this year, Governor John Bel Edwards is requesting teachers get a piece of the pie.
"My opinion on that is the same as stated by the Governor. We are committed to a $2,000 pay raise for teachers in the budget we proposed," Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne said at Press Club Monday morning.
Dardenne says there could be even more coming if the state gets a good report at the upcoming Revenue Estimating Conference (REC).
"We would like an additional $1,000 to go to teachers if and when REC improves our forecast at that meeting that will take place in May."
It's welcome news for teachers, but some say there's still work to be done.
"I think its important to point out that even with the pay raises we received, because other states are choosing to invest in education, we are falling further and further behind in the southern regional average," said Cynthia Posey with the Louisana Federation of Teachers.
Last year, Governor Edwards proposed a $2,000 pay raise, but legislators ended up cutting that by 25 percent. Posey says it was essentially nothing.
"$1,500 is about a 3 percent increase but their insurance premiums actually went up 4.5 percent, so the reality is they didn't actually receive a pay raise."
It fluctuates from year to year, but Posey says Louisiana teachers are making, at minimum, $3,500 less than the southern regional average.
"Even with the pay raise that we received last year, Alabama is $1,800 more than what teachers in Louisiana receive."
Another potential issue--the additional $1,000 contingent on the outcome at the REC will only go to teachers who are deemed excellent or working in difficult schools.
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