Despite pushback from the House, Governor John Bel Edwards is sticking by his original funding proposal for K-12 education, which includes a $1,000 raise for teachers, $500 raise for support staff, and a $39 million bump to school districts.
“This is the first step in a multi-year process to bring teacher pay back to the southern regional average where it was 10 years ago. But it is important that we also acknowledge that it’s been years since we increased the per-pupil allocation to our districts,” Governor Edwards said at a press conference Friday.
Just last week, the House rejected that proposal, opting instead for no increase to school districts and higher pay raises—$1,200 for teachers and $600 for support staff.
Regardless, Edwards trusts his original proposal—backed by education leaders—can still pass.
"I believe the votes are there to support the resolution as it is and an appropriation in that amount, both in the House and Senate."
While there’s unanimous support for a teacher pay raise, some lawmakers have voiced concerns about sending the additional $39 million to school districts, fearing the local boards might spend the money differently than the Legislature would like. Edwards says just like legislators, those school board members are elected officials "and the people in the school districts are going to hold them accountable as school board members and they are vested with the authority to run education in those districts.”
The budget moves to the Senate next, where Edwards believes his version of the K-12 spending plan is on the verge of being approved.
“I think that would be the best course for the state of Louisiana."
Lawmakers have until June 6th to reach an agreement.