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Celebrating student loan relief

“It was like waking up and learning you won the lottery.” That’s just one of the comments flooding the AFT offices from members who are elated to be free of student debt at last. After relentless advocacy, including an AFT lawsuit against former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program that was so broken is finally doing what it is supposed to do: delivering relief from student debt for thousands of borrowers. So far, $6.2 billion in student debt has been forgiven for 100,000 public service workers like teachers, nurses and professors.

The December Edition

​Special Message from President Carter

I want to thank all of LFT members for their dedicated service to the students of Louisiana. I know that this year has been difficult and when I look around this state and see so many teachers and school employees finding success and joy in the midst of difficulty, I feel inspired. But we cannot overlook that the role of teachers is rapidly evolving, becoming in many ways more difficult. The COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted education systems across Louisiana, the country, and around the world; changing what classrooms and learning looks like on a daily basis. All school personnel have had to navigate a constantly shifting landscape with the health of students, teachers, paraprofessionals, office professions, custodial staff, food service staff, bus drivers, and the community at large at stake.

The January Edition

This month, the Governor announced his Executive Budget. Each year the Governor releases his proposed budget, based on the revenue recognized by the state Revenue Estimating Conference, and it is largely considered to be the starting point for the state budget process.

In this year’s budget, the Governor proposed a $1,500 raise for teachers and $750 for school employees. He also said that if the REC recognizes additional revenue at their meeting in May, $49 million should go towards funding an additional $500 pay increase for teachers.

This raise would be the largest state-wide pay raise that Louisiana teachers have received in over a decade, and there are already members of the legislature questioning whether or not such an amount is feasible. But the truth is, this isn’t enough. Our schools have gone through cataclysmic changes in the last couple years. Educators feel like they’re working more than ever. Teacher retirement has gone up 25% from 2020-2021 and enrollment in teaching programs is at an all-time low. In order to get out of this hole we’re in, Louisiana needs to do more than just a few hundred dollars better than what was done last year, we need policy makers to recognize the extraordinary sacrifice of our teachers and school employees and rise to this extraordinary moment in history.

Louisiana is nearly $5,000 below the Southern Regional Average, and given teacher raises that are being proposed in other states, that number is only going up. Teachers deserve at least a $2,500 increase this year and next year, along with guaranteed cola increases in perpetuity, so that we don’t fall back into this hole again.

The September Edition

On August 29th, Hurricane Ida made landfall on Southeastern Louisiana destroying property, damaging homes, and leaving many citizens without power or potable water for weeks on end. We are still working to repair the extensive damage and care for those who lost the most. It’s clear that the rebuilding and recovery efforts will take time.

AFT Hardship Relief Grants for Members
There is still time to apply -- APPLICATIONS ARE DUE FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1ST.

Special Statement from LFT President Larry Carter on the Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

I am heartbroken to see the damage across Southeastern Louisiana done by Hurricane Ida. While we are no strangers to hurricanes, this exceptional storm has made a significant impact throughout the state, particularly in our low-lying areas in the Southeast. Many homes were damaged or destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people remain without power. Rebuilding our homes and communities may take months.

This week, with the assistance of our national affiliate, the American Federation of Teachers, we have reached out via text to our members in areas impacted by the storm. We have successfully connected with thousands of our members and I am happy to report that the majority of the LFT family is safe, for now, but we have a long road to recovery before us.

The August Edition

COVID Spikes Across the State

On August 25th, Louisiana reported the single deadliest day of the entire pandemic, with 139 deaths from COVID-19 and 3,814 new cases. Unlike previous waves of the virus, the delta variant is further impacting children. On Wednesday, August 25th, COVID claimed its youngest victim, a child under the age of one. In total, 11 children have died from COVID in Louisiana, many more have been hospitalized, and over 6,000 K-12 students have tested positive.

LFT Asks BESE for Waiver to Protect Teachers

Dear President Holloway and Superintendent Brumley:

Due to the COVID-19 global health pandemic, the 2020-2021 school year was extremely challenging for students, families, and teachers. Unprecedented natural disasters, including Hurricanes Marco, Laura, Sally, Beta, and Delta in 2020 and the winter storm of February 2021, drastically disrupted the school year in multiple parishes. Students across the state were subjected to different levels of in-person instruction, online instruction, and instruction in a hybrid format of both in-person and online instruction. MORE

The Summer Newsletter

​BACK TO SCHOOL

It’s hard to believe that summer is already ending. Many districts had expanded summer school options for students who struggled through the pandemic-year. This left many educators with even less time to recuperate from an especially exhausting year. But as always, the prospect of a new school year brings excitement and opportunity.
 
LFT staff are preparing to greet new and returning educators at orientations and back to school events all over the state. If you are already a member of the Federation, make sure to check in with your Local representatives at these events so that you can get all the most up-to-date information about your membership and back-to-school goodies. If you aren’t already a member of the Federation, you’re missing out. Make sure to look for us at your orientation to learn more about all that membership has to offer!

Worker's Memorial Day

On this Workers Memorial Day, lets celebrate those who have come before us by fighting for those who will come after us. We are calling on the U.S. Senate to Pass the PRO Act to ensure that all workers can have a voice in their workplace.

Write your U.S. senators and tell them to pass the PRO Act now!

The March Newsletter

PAY RAISES

On March 10th the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) passed their proposal for the minimum foundation program (MFP) – the funding formula for Louisiana’s K-12 schools.
 
During the meeting, the Board decided to heed the recommendation from the MFP task force: passing a proposal that calls for an $80 million dollar increase in the MFP. The task force had decided on a 1.375% increase (or $40 million) put into Level 1 of the MFP for general classroom funding and another 1.375% increase, put into level 3, for raises. That comes out to $400 increase for teachers and $200 for school employees, spread out over the entire year - a meager raise. LFT was one of only two organizations in the state to oppose this proposal, and has consistently pushed for a larger pay increase.
 
In an unprecedented turn of events, the letter that BESE sent to the legislature, which outlines their MFP proposal, made a slight, but important, deviation from the task forces' recommendation. Instead of putting $40 million into level three where it would necessarily go towards raises and and the supplementary retirement benefits, BESE directed that funding to level 4, which is the portion of the MFP that goes towards supplementary allocations for specific programs such as career training experiences, dual enrollment and enrichment courses, assistance with high cost special education services, and recruitment and employment of international associate teachers.
 
LFT has consistently called on the BESE and the legislature to match the pay increase seen in 2019: $1,000 increase for teachers and $500 for support personnel, at a minimum. This plan requires a $101 million increase to level 3 of the MFP, which is the portion of the school funding formula that provides for employee salaries.  
 
As the MFP proceeds to the legislature for approval, LFT will continue to work towards a larger raise for teachers and school employees during this