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Week 9: The End

Yesterday evening the 9-week Louisiana legislative session came to a close. It was a fast-paced term with lots of legislation that had the potential to impact the lives of every day teachers and support staff in Louisiana. Here are the highlights:

WEEK 8: Educators Come Together

Louisiana Federation of Teachers and School Employees and the entire Louisiana Public School Coalition (LPSC) hosted two lobby days at the Capitol this week: Tuesday and Wednesday. Hundreds of teachers, support staff, principals, superintendents, school board members and retired teachers joined forces to lobby their legislators in the House of Representatives around a common message: support Senate Concurrent Resolution 3! SCR 3 is the legislative approval of the MFP, which provides for $101 million in educator pay raises and $39 million in increases for local school districts.

Week 7: The Final Stretch

RAISES FOR TEACHERS AND SUPPORT EMPLOYEES

There are less than two weeks left in the legislative session. It’s down to the wire and yet, the House Education Committee is still working to block passage of the MFP funding plan in every way that they can. They need to hear from you. Call the House Switchboard right now and ask to leave a message for your representative:

WEEK 6: The MFP Goes Back to the House

THE MFP PASSES THE SENATE

On Wednesday, the Senate passed SCR 3, which is the MFP! This funding plan was unanimously passed by BESE in March and would secure $101 million for pay raises for teachers and support employees and $39 million for local school districts. Securing this funding in the MFP is crucial because it can not be taken away from one year to the next! The Senate vote was nearly unanimous (Senator Appel of Metairie was the only 'no' vote). Click here to send a thank you note to your senator.

Week 5: The House Budget

On Monday, the House Appropriations Committee approved a $30 billion budget. On Thursday, it passed through the senate floor nearly unanimously. This budget includes a pay increase of $1,200 for teachers and $600 for support staff, which is slightly more than the proposal made by the Governor and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), but contains major problems:

Week 4: The MFP in Senate Education

On Thursday morning, the Senate Committee on Education voted to approve the MFP that was unanimously approved by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) in March. This is the same MFP that the House Education Committee rejected on April 16th: it includes $101 million for raises for teachers and support staff as well as $39 million for local school districts. The resolution was passed out of committee with nearly unanimously support (6 'yes' to 1 'no'), with Senator Conrad Appel as the lone 'no' vote on the committee.

Early childhood support requires adequate staffing

Some of education’s biggest problems come with its littlest students. At a working breakfast for paraprofessionals in prekindergarten, early childhood and Head Start, members swapped strategies for solving problems. Their discussion came during the AFT PSRP conference last week in Las Vegas, where paras from all over the country zeroed in on professional development and adequate classroom coverage.

Week 3: The Committees Weigh In

This week, the legislature was finally in full swing. Many bills passed through committee and are on their way to having a real-life impact on teachers, support staff, and their students throughout Louisiana. Here are some to watch:

Student Input...

Increased Transparency...

Minimum Wage...

Week 2: The MFP

On Tuesday the House Education Committee had their first meeting of the legislative session. Typically, the MFP resolution is heard much later in the legislative process, when legislators have a more accurate picture of the budget. This MFP reflects Governor Edwards' plan to increase school funding and educators' salaries and it was unanimously approved by BESE in March: $101 million for educator pay raises and $39 million for local school districts. This week, the House Education Committee voted to send the MFP back to BESE and asked them to remove $39 million for local school districts.

Week 1: Revenue

After a six month stalemate, the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) finally came to a decision on the projected revenue for the state budget on Tuesday. Playing political games, Speaker Taylor Barras has again and again refused to recognize new revenues projected by bi-partisan economists. From the first meeting, economist testified that their projections were conservative, but Barras kept rejecting them until he received a report that satisfied his political goals.