House passes Gov. Edwards’ schools financing formula

By Lauren Heffker and Hunter Lovell, LSU Manship School News Service

BATON ROUGE –The House on Monday unanimously approved Gov. John Bel Edwards’ $3.8 billion financing formula for public school funding, including $1,000 teacher pay raises and $500 staff pay raises as well as a $39 million block grant. 

Legislators also approved proposals to protect the state’s agricultural industries and expand Louisiana’s foster care system up to age 21.

The passage of the education plan signals the end of a standoff between the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, or BESE, and House Republican leaders. The governor’s proposal was backed by BESE. 

“As we enter the final days of the legislative session, we have a chance to invest in education at every level, from early childhood all the way through higher education,” the governor said in a press release.

House Republicans initially questioned whether the state could afford the discretionary block grant for local school districts. But the Senate adopted BESE’s funding formula 37-1 last month, increasing pressure on the House to pass the governor’s proposal.

The bill’s passage means that the governor’s $30 billion state operating budget should now pass the House, as the block grant had been the key hurdle. 

The legislative session must end by June 6.