Teacher Unions Frustrated Over Lack Of Raise In Budget
The Governor’s July 1st budget proposal calls for a 128 million dollar increase in general fund spending but does not include a teacher pay raise, angering unions who backed his reelection.
Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says school districts will be given funds they can use to give raises, but Louisiana Federation of Teachers Legislative Director Cynthia Posey says it’s not the same.
“I would say that teachers are definitely disappointed, but we are very early in the budget process so there is a long way to go,” says Posey.
Louisiana teachers received a 1,000 dollar pay raise in the last session but still have average pay below the southern regional average.
The Governor called for a 25 million dollar increase in early childhood education spending and 39 million in increased public school funding. Posey says the budget does not reflect the state’s dire education funding needs.
“The legislators that say that they want to make education and students a priority need to make funding it a priority and stop using students and educators as political pawns,” says Posey.
The 1,000 dollar raise for teachers and a 500 dollar raise for support personnel last year made up the bulk of the 140 million dollar increase in annual school spending.
Governor Edwards campaigned on pushing for further teacher pay raises, and Posey says failing to follow through in the first session of his new term is concerning.
“It’s upsetting, and we are going to put out a survey to see how our teachers feel about it and bring those concerns to the Capitol this session,” says Posey.