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Don't let them silence our voices!

It’s time to stand up for Louisiana students and educators!

Right now, the Louisiana legislature is moving bills through the state house that will hurt public education in the state for years to come.

  • ❌Dues deduction bills: Takes away your freedom to spend your paycheck as you choose.

  • ❌Voucher bills: Our school districts are subject to losing funding to these voucher programs, seriously impacting our public education system.

  • HB 800 was up for discussion last week and sets the stage for a fast-tracked Constitutional Convention. Few details are known at this point, but elected officials have been clear that K-12 funding protected in the current constitution is a target. The bill is expected to be moved through committee this week. 

    Be on the lookout updates on the proposed amendments and additional actions to take to protect public education in our state. 

📩 ACT NOW: Click here to add your signature to a pre-written letter to your lawmakers urging them to take action against these bills.

Public funds for public schools

Diverting public dollars to private schools and other programs through Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) or universal vouchers without fully funding public schools is fiscally irresponsible and would be devastating to our public school system. The fiscal note for the ESAs, tutoring bills, and other school choice programs tell us that even your stipend is not a certainty.

If these bills pass, teachers and staff would actually receive less income next year, and in the future, than they do currently. Voucher bills take away resources from teachers, staff, and students, and would be creating an entirely new cost to taxpayers with little to no oversight and accountability.

  • ❌HB745 (LA GATOR Program) would replace the current voucher system for low-income students in low-rated schools, opening it up for any student, regardless of parental income, whether or not the child is enrolled in a public school, and allow stipends parents could spend on tuition, tutoring, online classes and more.

  • ❌SB 313 is a similar ESA bill which creates the Louisiana Giving All True Opportunity to Rise (LA GATOR) Scholarship Program to provide educational savings accounts for parental choice in K-12 education.


Don't let them silence our voices!

In an effort to silence our voice and rights, several bills were introduced to strike our source of funding. These bills are clearly aimed at stopping us from taking a civil, principled stand against current anti-public education and anti-public services legislation.

Organizations that support these schemes are financed by deep-pocketed corporations and individuals. Their funding would not be affected by this bill.

Unions, like LFT, represent the interests of workers who dedicate their professional lives to the children of the state. In a civil, professional manner, LFT brings your concerns to the legislature.

Freedom of speech and freedom of association are crucial to a representative form of government. Prohibiting the payroll deduction of union dues and taking away your ability to advocate stifle those freedoms and ultimately weaken our democracy.

The following bills are scheduled to be heard in the Labor and Industrial Relations Committee on Thursday.

  • ❌HB 571 and 572 (CREWS): These bills silence your voice, taking away your ability to advocate for the things that you’ve told us impact you the most–fair pay, workload, smaller class sizes, school safety, and other resources that benefit student learning.

  • ❌HB 712 (CREWS): This bill would make it more complicated for you to support causes you care about and limit your ability to advocate for better conditions for yourself and your students.

  • ❌HB 956 (CREWS): This bill would make it harder for you to make decisions as part of a group. Secret ballots would prevent you from speaking openly about issues and deciding on important matters together, potentially weakening your ability to stand up for your rights and the rights of your students.

  • ❌HB 919 (CHENEVERT) Under current law, members of unions like ours can opt to pay their dues through payroll deduction. This is neither a special privilege nor a burden on taxpayers. It is a service that is available to credit unions, insurance companies and other recognized vendors, as well as unions. Because most members of LFT and other public sector unions pay their dues through payroll deduction, this bill is an obvious threat to the very existence of advocacy organizations.

📩 ACT NOW: Click here to add your signature to a pre-written letter to your lawmakers urging them to take action against these bills.


Students progress, teachers should benefit

Last session, your raise was turned into a stipend, with a permanent raise promised this session. This session you were promised an extension of the stipend because legislators said the upcoming fiscal cliff made a permanent raise unsustainable. But lawmakers did not hesitate to file bills that have anticipated costs far above what a permanent raise would cost.

Right now, all items with a fiscal note, including tutoring and school choice bills are competing for the same shrinking pot of State General Funds. This week, legislators stated on record that more money will be recognized when the Revenue Estimating Committee meets in May and that this money should be considered for their favored programs.


 HCR 21 will be heard this week. LFT will be testifying against the MFP formula on Tuesday which DOES NOT include a permanent raise for teachers and support staff. The LDOE may tout rising numbers in teacher recruitment, however the number of certified and qualified educators has actually gone down. LFT has consistently advocated and fought for a permanent raise to be included in the MFP.

✅ SB 205 has been put "on the pile" as any bills with a fiscal note have, however this fiscal note is not for State General Fund, which is why they're typically retained. This is a cost to the locals. And it doesn't have to be a cost to locals if they follow the law. Now, districts must make a decision about whether or not what they are asking of teachers is worth paying them for when the reality is that our schools are run on unpaid overtime!


New and expanded tutoring programs also expand teacher workload

While LFT supports the additional help that tutoring provides, it should not be put ahead of the teachers who are actually responsible for the gains Supt. Brumley continues to tout. Based on usage data from the first implementation year of the Steve Carter Literacy Program, less than 0.8% of eligible students are expected to request participation.

Legislators alluded to an increase in the Revenue Estimating Committee forecast that would make State General Funds available to fund tutoring programs that had fiscal notes, asking for their bill to stay in Appropriations until the forecast was updated. Again, if additional money is recognized, why aren't we using those funds to pay the teachers and staff as promised?


Support staff’s right to safety

Several LFT-backed bills have been retained in the Senate. In addition to SB 205, SB 213 is expected to be heard again this week.

SB 213 provides physical contact pay for support employees that is equivalent to what teachers receive. Currently, teachers receive up to a full year to recover while support staff only receive up to 90 days. This bill provides the same benefit to support staff who face the same risks as teachers.

📩ACT NOW and make your voice heard. Click "start writing" to add your signature to a letter to lawmakers asking them to vote for Senate Bill 213.


Teach without distraction

✅ HB 322 is pending Senate education and we will keep you updated on actions to take.

LFT commends Rep. Stagni for his work in meeting with stakeholders to amend the bill, addressing concerns and ensuring teachers cannot physically remove students themselves. We are grateful for his ongoing efforts to support educators.

HB 322 is a response to the challenges teachers told LFT they face in the classrooms–the same challenges that impact teacher shortages and retention.

Teachers have reported that they are not supported in carrying out existing measures for dealing with disruption. This bill provides teachers the authority they need to decide when students are removed, and ensure that the administration and parents are involved in the remediation process so that teachers can focus on their job of teaching and students can focus on learning.


Removing cell phones from the classroom

✅ SB 207 is pending House Education. This bill prohibits cell phones at school which can help to reduce distractions and improve the learning experience.

LFT supports SB 207 as an important effort to reduce disruptions in the classroom for both teachers and students.

The Week Ahead…

❌HCR 21 SCHLEGEL Provides for legislative approval of the MFP formula for FY 2024-


❌HB 571 CREWS Provides relative to certain designated labor organization activities in employment contracts

❌HB 572 CREWS Prohibits collective bargaining for public officers and employees

❌HB 712 CREWS Provides relative to the resignation from labor organizations for teachers and other school employees and the collection of membership dues for political activities

❌HB 919 CHENEVERT Provides with respect to payroll deductions

❌ HB 956 CREWS Creates the Employee Secret Ballot Protection Act

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