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?
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.
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...
On June 1st, Governor John Bel Edwards issued his line item vetoes of HB 1, the budget bill. He shifted appropriations to provide further pay increases for higher education faculty. It has been a long time since our college and university faculty got the raises they deserve, so this is a great re-appropriation. Unfortunately, the Governor did not have the political support or funding to increase the raise for K-12 school personnel beyond $1,500/$750.
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.
✔️ 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