Legislation to give teachers in Louisiana another pay raise cleared a big hurdle last week as state representatives in the Louisiana House gave their approval for the $38 billion spending plan that contains the raises.

The legislation also calls for raises for college professors, state employees. Also, a few health care service providers will see more funds.

What Is Southern Regional Average? And How Much Do Louisiana Teachers Get Paid?

According to usnews.com, the Southern average for teachers is $55,205. Louisiana teachers get paid an average of $51,586 during the 2019-2020 school year. That's 12th among the 16 states in the region.

Both of these figures sit well below the national average of $64,133.

Teacher in class
Comstock, Getty Stock / ThinkStock

Now, keep in mind that the national average includes states like New York who, according to the State University of New York (SUNY) think tank, make $79,588 as the average teacher salary, as pointed out by edweek.org. It also costs more to live in New York than it does in Louisiana.

“I firmly believe that increasing investments in education, from helping our youngest learners to better compensating K-12 teachers, support staff, and college and university faculty while also increasing the funding formula for higher education, is the key to addressing many of our state’s problems,” said Governor John Bel Edwards earlier in the year when he announced his budget proposal. "I have committed that we will get Louisiana teachers back to the Southern regional average for pay, and I believe we can do that."

What's Next for Teacher Pay Raise Legislation?

The Senate Finance Committee will now spend the next few weeks going over the budget. This fiscal plan calls for and contains $1,500 pay raises for teachers and $750 for support staff. This raise - if it passes the full Senate and is expectedly signed by Governor John Bel Edwards - would push teacher salaries up $3,300 over the last four years, as noted by Louisiana Radio Network.

Louisiana State Capitol, jdthedjyt via YouTube
Louisiana State Capitol, jdthedjyt via YouTube

"In previous budget years, we’ve worked to make small, incremental investments in critical priorities," said Edwards when talking about the raises as being "our most significant new investments yet – focusing on education at all levels...and funded with recurring state general fund.”

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