Monday, April 15, 2024

Louisiana state school board requests $94.7M spending increase for teacher, staff raises

by BIZ Magazine

By David Jacobs | The Center Square

Louisiana’s top school board will ask the Louisiana Legislature for a $94.7 million spending boost to cover raises for teachers and other school staff.

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) approved revisions Wednesday to the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) formula for the 2021-22 school year, which represents the state’s primary contribution to K-12 public school funding. The $3.9 billion MFP includes $800 raises for teachers and $400 raises for support personnel.

The BESE requested in March $400 and $200 raises, which mirrored Gov. John Bel Edwards’ proposal. Edwards has said he would support higher raises if the money is available. Legislative leaders found enough money to double the potential raises in their state budget, they said.

Senators expect to take up the state budget next week.

The BESE also wants the Legislature to consider bigger raises if the Revenue Estimating Conference increases the official revenue forecast when it meets Tuesday, as is widely expected. Average teacher salaries in Louisiana are below the regional average.

Under the state constitution, only the BESE can alter the MFP. The Legislature can approve or reject the formula but cannot change it. If a regular legislative session ends without a new MFP, the existing formula is used again.

“Developing the MFP formula is a collaborative process, and we value the recommendations of our legislative partners,” BESE President Sandy Holloway said. “The revisions to the formula approved by BESE today reflect the desire of state education leaders, lawmakers, and other stakeholders to fulfill our commitment of increasing educator pay toward the regional average.”

The newest proposed MFP removes requests to increase per-pupil funding to districts and give “certified mentor teachers” a $2,000 stipend. BESE wants to revisit those requests if the REC identifies more funding.

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