HOUMA, La. (AP) — A task force recommends Terrebonne Parish schools should start an improvement program with increasing the pay of teachers and other school personnel through a higher sales tax.

The starting teacher salary in Terrebonne is $37,909, which ranks in the bottom third in the state.

The Courier reports the task force wants to change that with an election for a higher sales tax, but not before December to allow enough time to properly educate the public about the need for higher pay, challenges the school system faces and the effect on student performance.

In July, the school board and the Houma-Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce agreed to create the task force to map out the needs and related financing for the schools after a 31-mill property tax was soundly defeated.