A survey from the Louisiana Federation of Teachers indicates that 61 percent of union members support a statewide walkout or strike to accomplish their goals of better school funding and pay raises. The survey was inspired by a series of successful teacher’s strikes in other states. LFT president Larry Carter says they’re ready to send a message to the legislature.

 “When lawmakers meet in the fiscal session next spring, they will be forced to decide whether they support public education or face angry, organized resistance,” Carter said.

53 percent of teachers surveyed say teacher pay is the most important issue facing schools, and 75 percent say they would favor a sales tax increase, property tax increase, or both to get fund a pay raise. Carter says pay has stagnated since 2012 and is now clearly below the regional average.

“Only nineteen percent of the respondents say they have received a local pay raise in the past five years, and 61 percent said their local school boards have frozen their salaries during that same period,” Carter said.

An overwhelming 82 percent of teachers support eliminating tax exemptions for businesses to fund higher pay.

Carter says the low pay and crippled tenure system is directly responsible for the statewide shortage of teachers.

“Seventy-eight percent of teachers who took the poll said they actually considered leaving the profession because of the low pay,” Carter said.

3,800 teachers responded to the survey.