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BESE Considers Raises

Today, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) passed their proposal for the minimum foundation program (MPF) – the funding formula for Louisiana’s K-12 schools. Unsurprisingly, their proposal was exactly what the MFP Task Force recommended last week.

BESE’s proposal calls for an $80 million dollar increase in the MFP – a 1.375% increase in general classroom funding (level 1) and 1.375%, or $40 million, for raises (level 3). That comes out to $400 increase for teachers and $200 for school employees, spread out over the entire year. “Our teachers and school employees deserve better,” said LFT President Larry Carter in response to the proposal.
LFT was one of only two organizations in the state that came to the table at the BESE meeting to advocate for more.
Nothing is finalized yet. The proposal will now move to the legislature, and it will be considered by both the House and Senate, in the context of the whole state budget. As BESE members noted, the Revenue Estimating Conference (which is a committee of officials tasked with setting revenue projections upon which the budget is based) will reconvene in April. They are widely expected to increase the state’s revenue projection then, potentially making way for more funding for the MFP.
At the BESE meeting, LFT Legislative and Political Director Cynthia Posey talked about Louisiana’s struggles to recruit and retain qualified teachers and cited the #1 reason: compensation. “When schools reopened this past fall, Louisiana’s teachers and support staff were there in the schools, transporting, feeding and teaching our children. Unlike their counterparts in other parts of the country they were there for our children despite fear for their health and the health of their families. They stepped up and did their part. It’s is time for our elected officials step up and do theirs,” said Posey.
LFT continues to call on officials to provide a meaningful increase that can bring Louisiana closer to the Southern Regional average for school employee pay. We would like to see, and believe the state can afford, at least what was passed in 2019: $1,000 increase for teachers and $500 for school employees, secured in level 3 of the MFP.

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