State GOP lawmakers in the House committee back pay raises for teachers, increased funding for schools

30EDUCATION
Rep. Walt Leger, D-New Orleans, expressed his approval of the originally proposed budget presented by the Board of Education and Secondary Education on Thursday in the House Education Committee. (Photo credit: Madeline Meyer/LSU Manship School News Service)

Published: May 31, 2019

By: Madeline Meyer, LSU Manship School News Service

BATON ROUGE — GOP-lawmakers in the House Education Committee on Thursday backed the governor’s $3.8 billion proposal for public school funding, including the $1,000 teacher pay raises and $500 raises for support staff, as well as the $39 million block grant.

This legislative session has been marked by a budget standoff between the Board of Education and Secondary Education, or BESE, and Republican House leaders.

Although legislators from both sides of the aisle signaled support for giving teachers a pay raise, the main point of contention has been the education budget proposed by Gov. John Bel Edwards and BESE.

Each year, the board sets a budget to fund schools across the state. BESEsplan, called the Minimum Foundation Program, or MFP, includes a proposed budget of $1,000 teacher pay raises and $500 supporting staff pay increase, and $39 million for public school funding.

Governor Edwards, a Democrat running for re-election in the fall, has touted his plans for funding K-12 education, and last Tuesday, he increased pressure on the House after announcing plans to raise early childhood education funding by $18 million.

On Wednesday, the governor and other school officials rallied on the steps of the State Capitol for passage of their proposal.

“Teachers and support personnel in the schools give so much to our students every day, and we are now one step closer to giving them a pay raise that is long overdue and well deserved,” the governor commented in a press release on Thursday.

Earlier this month, the board’s proposal was met with opposition by the House Appropriations Committee, which advanced a $30 billion state operating budget that would have increased the pay raises to a one-time $1,200 for teachers and $600 for supporting staff. But the additional $39 million for schools was not included.

Read more in the Bossier Press-Tribune.

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