March 12, 2019
The Advocate, by Will Sentell
After a rare pitch from Gov. John Bel Edwards, Louisiana’s top school board Tuesday voted to request a $1,000 pay raise for public school teachers and a $39 million increase in state aid for public schools.The proposal, which faces a final vote on Wednesday, will be sent to the Louisiana Legislature for the two-month session that begins on April 8. Lawmakers will be able to accept or reject the plan but cannot change it.The package also includes a $500 pay raise for support workers, which includes school bus drivers, cafeteria workers and others. All of the increases would take effect for the 2019-20 school year. The public school spending package totals $3.85 billion.Edwards’ appearance before the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education marked the first of its kind since he took office in 2016. “I believe it is a plan we can all come behind and support,” he said.  “I am extremely confident that this is going to happen,” Edwards told reporters after his appearance. “Quite frankly, there is very little opposition to this in the Legislature in either party in either the House or the Senate.”House and Senate members have generally applauded the election-year drive to boost teacher pay.  However, some lawmakers and advocacy groups contend pay raises should target hard-to-fill jobs, including math and science, rather than to be issued across-the-board.