Livingston teachers, school system employees to get pay raise if voters pass new sales tax
DENHAM SPRINGS - Teachers and other Livingston Parish school system employees could get a 10% pay raise if voters pass a new 1% sales tax. It's one of several items on the ballot for Saturday's election.
"We're losing our educators to our surrounding districts. We are six districts around us, and we rank absolutely sixth in pay," Superintendent Joe Murphy said.
Livingston Parish's average teacher salary is $50,243, which is $3,000 less than the state average, listed online as $53,819. Livingston's average is also $7,000 less than neighboring Iberville Parish, which comes in at $57,821.
Murphy says they cannot compete with surrounding parishes.
"The out migration of teachers is a problem," Murphy said.
"Unfortunately, they're forced to make really tough decisions," said Laura Dunlap, principal at Seventh Ward Elementary.
"I lost 12 teachers to Tangipahoa Parish this year. Twelve. I've lost multiple teachers to Ascension. I've lost my teacher of the year to Central in Zachary," Murphy said.
The sales tax would be one cent on the dollar. It would not apply to groceries, gas or prescriptions.
Murphy says the pay increase for all the employees is much needed to keep current teachers and to attract new ones.
"We have to be able to be the ones they want to come to first," Dunlap said.
Not everyone agrees with the proposed tax. Signs posted all over the parish are urging voters to say no.
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