Week 2 at the Legislature

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House Bill 35 – Take SLT’s Out of Teacher Evaluations This Year

LFT worked with Senator Troy Carter to develop legislation that would ensure SLT’s and all measures of student growth could not be used as part of teacher’s evaluations for this year. After everything that teachers and students have been through this year, we know that these test results will not accurately reflect your abilities as an educator, but instead could add extra pressure and stress to an already difficult year.
 
House Bill 35 was on the schedule for the Senate Education Committee this week, but ended up being delayed. It’s vital that the Committee hears from dedicated educators like you before they consider this important legislation.
 
 

Senate Bill 22 – Making it Harder to Retire  

Senate Bill 22 would raise the age of retirement to 67 for all future employees. In order to receive full benefits, new teachers, school employees, bus drivers and other public servants will have to work 40 years, or until the age of 67.
 
Thousands of concerned teachers, school employees, and retirees sent letters to the Senate Retirement Committee last weekend asking the Senators to oppose Senate Bill 22 because it would threaten one of the few benefits that teachers and school employees retain. Despite your outcry, Senate Bill 22 did successfully pass through the Senate Retirement Committee on Monday.
 
Now, the bill must pass the Senate before moving on to the House of Representatives for approval. Even with the proposed amendments, this is yet another “reform” looking for an issue. Please take a moment to ask your Senator to VOTE NO on this unnecessary and damaging legislation.
 

Senate Bill 10 – Mandatory Kindergarten

Wednesday, April 21st was National Kindergarten Day! That morning, the Senate Education Committee considered Senate Bill 10 by Senator Fields. This legislation would make kindergarten mandatory for all students (in-school or home school) and would fully fund the additional enrollment in the funding formula for Louisiana Public Schools. SB 10 was approved by the Committee and will now proceed through the rest of the legislature. Considering LDOE’s the proposed K-12 state standards, it is vital to make sure our children are prepared and have a chance to be successful in their formative years.
 

Senate Bill 24 – Benefit Increase for Retirees

Senate Bill 24 by Senator Price would increase the minimum benefit for retirees to $1,450 per month. Unfortunately, this won’t increase everyone’s monthly benefit, but it will provide an increase for those who have fallen below the poverty line. This legislation was approved by the Senate Retirement Committee and will be considered by the Senate Finance Committee next week. Sen. Price has expressed his intent to continue to work to increase benefits for retirees in the future.

What to Look for This Week:
 

The House Education Committee will meet Tuesday and Wednesday of this week for a marathon session in which they’ll consider over a dozen pieces of potentially controversial legislation. Here are a few bills that we are watching:

HCR 39 (Rep. Mincey) would create a task force to study strategies and best procedures by which the state and individual school districts can recruit and retain a stronger educator workforce. This task force will include those who are most qualified to speak on these issues: active Louisiana teachers. (SUPPORT)
 
HB 364 (Rep. White) would revamp and increase per-mile compensation for school bus operators. (SUPPORT)
 
 

HB 256 (Rep. Tarver) Would allow alternate organizations to collect dues, even when there is a union with collective bargaining & exclusivity. This would undermine the bedrock of the labor movement: collective bargaining and undermine the collective power of Louisiana’s teachers and school employees. (OPPOSE)
 
 
SCR 2 (by Sen. Fields) This is the legislation that allows for the approval of BESE’s MFP proposal. In March, BESE recommended a $400 increase for teachers and only $200 for support employees. The legislature has two options, pass through the MFP as recommended, or send it back to BESE for amendments. LFT asks that the legislature send it back to BESE in order to secure a raise equivalent to what was passed in 2019 ($1,000 for teachers and $500 for support employees) – or more. (OPPOSE)
 
HB 528 (Rep. Garofalo) Would require BESE to implement and design rules for a pilot program around implementing a year-round school calendar at certain schools. School districts interested in pursuing a “balanced calendar” may already do so at their own discretion. There is no need for state agencies to interfere in a local issue. (OPPOSE)
 
 
HB 564 (Rep. Garofalo) Would create onerous restrictions around the subject material that Louisiana teachers and colleges may present to their students – further eroding the professional autonomy of Louisiana teachers and undermining the integrity of our profession. Teachers and staff cannot and should not discuss political preferences in their classroom, but this bill goes far beyond politics and seeks to silence the tradition of open discussion and critical analysis in schools. (OPPOSE)
 
SB 136 (by Sen. Mills) In the past, state agencies have been able to create “emergency” authorizations that enable them to fast-track policy changes without appropriate over-site. This legislation would more clearly define what constitutes an “emergency” in order to prevent government agencies from evading proper protocols. This will improve transparency and public oversight. (SUPPORT)