Legislators Pass Stipends for Teachers & School Employees – Not Raises!
In the final hours of the legislative session, the House chose not to take up SCR 2, the legislative instrument for the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP), the funding mechanism for K-12 education. This action ended any hopes of a permanent pay raise for educators this legislative session. Instead, the legislature chose to pay educators one-time stipends.
In an effort to appease educators, the body also included language in the preamble of the budget that asks future members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) to include this year’s education funding in next year’s MFP. This will require future legislators and the future governor to do what this legislature would not: fund a permanent raise. Next year, Louisiana will have a new governor and many new legislators, so it is unclear whether or not they will honor the request to secure this year’s funding into next year’s MFP. If they do not, there will likely be little recourse for Louisiana’s educators and students.
The amount funded in the budget will give teachers a one-time stipend of $2,000 and support staff $1,000. Additionally, the budget contains $25 million for differential pay stipends for some teachers in “high needs areas,” as determined by local school boards. This stipend is also not guaranteed next year.
Throughout the legislative session, LFT members sent 305,431 emails to legislators and BESE members, delivered 270,936 floor notes, and came to the Capitol multiple times to testify before committees and talk to legislators. They consistently called on legislators to support permanent pay increases for teachers and school employees locked into level four of the MFP and funded in the budget.
“Once again, teachers and school employees are forced to beg for what they deserve,” said LFT President Larry Carter. “This year, legislators had a historic surplus and a unique opportunity to invest in our teachers, school employees, and students, now and into the future. Instead, they chose to approve one-time funds, which are not guaranteed next year. I think Louisiana’s educators are tired of seeing legislators kick the can down the road as surrounding states make meaningful investments in their educator workforce. This funding plan will not give our educators, schools, and students the financial security that they need. Louisiana’s staffing crisis will continue, fewer college students will choose this noble profession, and Louisiana’s students will continue to be shortchanged.”