Edwards says teacher pay hike will be top priority next year
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Gov. John Bel Edwards says a teacher pay raise is his "number one priority" in next year's legislative session.
The Democratic governor, elected with the support of teacher unions, said Wednesday he'll seek a $1,000 across-the-board pay raise for teachers in the 2019 session. He'll also push a $500 raise for school support employees, such as cafeteria workers and classroom aides.
The price tag, if lawmakers agree, would be $114 million.
Edwards said on his monthly radio show he's confident "we're going to be able to make that happen."
The proposal comes as teachers in other states staged strikes for pay hikes and as Edwards moves into the year he's running for re-election.
Louisiana teachers' average salary is just under $50,000. Edwards says that's $2,200 less than the Southern average.