Survey: Louisiana teacher pay among lowest in the South
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s average teacher salary continues to lag most states in the South, according to a new survey updating the latest figures.
Teachers in the state were paid an average of $51,566 during the 2019-20 school year — 12th among 16 states in the region, according to data from the Southern Regional Education Board. The Advocate reports the Southern average is $55,205, while the national average is $64,133.
The latest survey means Louisiana teachers are paid more than those in Mississippi, Florida, Arkansas and West Virginia. Maryland tops the 16-state regional list with an average salary of $73,444.
The report says the average starting pay for teachers in Louisiana is $41,747 and the average top pay $57,620. Lawmakers and the governor gave teachers in Louisiana an $800 annual pay hike this year.
The latest rankings raise doubts about whether Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards — who was endorsed by the state’s two teacher unions when he ran for governor — will be successful in getting teacher pay to the regional average before he leaves office in 2024.
Tia Mills, president of the Louisiana Association of Educators union, said the Edwards administration has done everything possible for the state to reach the regional average.
“Unfortunately it is a moving target,” Mills told the newspaper.
The latest survey comes at a time when the shortage of teachers in Louisiana and nationally is worsening. Retirements and fewer teachers entering the profession have made it hard for school leaders to fill classroom openings.
“Unless we make education a priority by paying the educators we have so we can recruit additional educators we are going to continue to see the losses we are seeing,” Mills said.
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