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Legislation

Senate Finance Fails to Increase Teacher & School Employee Raises

On Sunday afternoon, the Senate Finance Committee met to deliberate and approve the budget bill, along with supplementary appropriations legislation. The Minimum Foundation Program, which is the funding formula for Louisiana public schools, is a part of the $39 million budget discussed on Sunday. The current MFP proposal includes a $1,500 raise for teachers and $750 for support staff. The Governor’s office, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education as well as educational stakeholders like LFT have requested that the legislature invest part of the additional revenue recognized at the May REC meeting into additional raises for teachers and school employees.

Despite outcry from thousands of teachers and support staff, the Senate Finance Committee did not vote to increase the educator raise.

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Week 9 in the Legislature

Senate Finance Set to Determine Your Raise

On Sunday afternoon, the Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to deliberate the budget bill (HB 1) and they will determine how much money to allocate for teacher and school employee raises. If the Senate doesn’t fund raises in the budget, then teachers and school employees aren’t getting raises this year, so this is very important!

Click here to ask the Senate Finance Committee to support additional raises for teachers & school employees.

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REC Recognizes Additional Funding – Will it Go Towards Your Raise?

On Monday, May 9th the Revenue Estimating Conference met to review and revise the Official Revenue Forecast for FY22 and FY23 as well as recognize FY21 year-end balances. The REC recognized an additional $350 million in revenue for this year (and $104 million for next year).

Now, the question is: how will the legislature choose to use this additional funding?

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Week 8 in the Legislature

On Monday morning the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) will meet to review and revise the Official Revenue Forecast for FY22 and FY23 as well as recognize FY21 year-end balances. It is widely expected that the REC will recognize additional revenue. The question is, how will the legislature choose to spend this additional revenue.

LFT has long advocated that some of these additional monies should go towards teacher and school employee pay raises. We have asked legislators to boost the pay raise from $1,500 for certified staff and $750 for classified personnel to $2,500/$1,250 as a minimum. In truth, teachers and school employees deserve even more and as neighboring states continue to boost pay for their educators, Louisiana falls further behind. Next week, legislators will know how much additional revenue they have to work with and the horse-trading will begin.

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Week 7 in the Legislature

It is widely acknowledged that there will be funding available for additional pay increases. To increase the pay raise, the Legislature would have to vote to return the MFP to BESE so that BESE can amend it. BESE has already agreed to the increase, so the decision rests with the Legislature, and some are already pushing back against further increases, claiming there isn’t enough money to go around.

Meanwhile, the legislature has taken up a number of bills that limit or redirect funding that could otherwise be used for our public schools...

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Week 6 in the Legislature

In an effort to address the decade-old teacher shortage, numerous bills aimed at enticing retired teachers back to the classroom have been filed. While these bills are getting a lot of attention right now because of the teacher shortage, RTW laws have impacted TRSL since 1957.

Over the years, some of these bills have been so extreme that they threatened the long-term financial stability of TRSL. Currently, there are a few options that are modest in their reach and unlikely to cause damage to the system. They may even encourage a few teachers to come out of retirement and return to the classroom in the short term, but they offer no solution to the crippling teacher shortage that is currently plaguing our schools. Over the last few months, BESE members, legislators, and other officials have touted the idea of retirees returning to the classroom as a solution to the teacher shortage. In truth, the number of retired teachers who chose to return to the classroom has decreased dramatically over the last ten years.

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Week 5 in the Legislature

✔️ HB 510: Ending the Onslaught of Trainings
✔️ HB 363: Teacher Voice in SLTs
✔️ HB 98: Amended
✔️ SB 151: Preserving Local Control of ITEP
✔️ HB 819: Extending Maternal Health Leave to All Employees
❌ HB 986: Privatizing Food Services in Schools
❌ SB 145: Eliminating Local Input in Corporate Charter Schools

➡️ Six Opportunities to TAKE ACTION

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Week 4 at the Legislature

The legislative session is in full swing, and the committees are considering important legislation that will impact educators and their families all over the state. One of the most enlightening discussions came on Wednesday during the consideration of House Bill 363.

HB 363 (Bryant) seeks to cement existing BESE policy into law. Unfortunately, the policy often isn’t followed in schools. Under BESE policy, SLTs are supposed to be drafted by teachers at the beginning of each school year, based on the unique needs of their students. Unfortunately, in many districts there is little-to-no discussion. This doesn’t happen everywhere, but it does happen too often, and it deprives our students of the individualized attention they are supposed to get from their educators. HB 363 simply says that if SLTs aren’t “developed collaboratively” with the teacher, those SLT scores shall not be used in the teacher’s evaluation.

It is supported by both teachers' unions and the Louisiana Association of Principals – all the stakeholders involved in this process in the schools. However, it faced significant pushback from the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and the Pelican Institute...

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Week 3 in the Legislature

This week brought an unexpected twist. The 2022 Regular Legislative Session was paused and interrupted a Redistricting Veto Override Session. On Monday, the legislature announced that a supermajority of legislators did not return ballots indicating they did not want to hold a veto override session. So, constitutionally a veto override session is called.

At the end of the day on Tuesday, the Regular Legislative Session adjourned, and at noon on Wednesday the Veto Override Session began. While scheduled to go at late as Sunday, the veto ultimately took only a few hours. By the end of the afternoon on Wednesday both the House and the Senate voted to override the Governor’s veto of the new Congressional map.

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Week 2 in the Legislature

Two weeks into the legislative session and, so far, the legislature has yet to tackle the most controversial bills of the session. Committee meetings have focused on more mundane bills but an obvious elephant-in-the-room as tinged discussions. Legislators are finally waking up to the reality that our schools are in freefall. They are finally, beginning to see the teacher shortage for the crisis that it is. Next week several of the most crucial bills will be heard in committee and on the House floor. Find out what happened this week and what we can expect next week:

On Thursday, the House Education Committee heard a presentation from Dr. Kim Hunter Reed, Commissioner of Higher Education, and Representative Buddy Mincey on the Teacher Recruitment, Recovery and Retention Task Force.

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