Bossier teachers not giving up on eventual pay hike

Bossier school tax follow up

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The voters have spoken. Bossier Parish homeowners and business leaders overwhelmingly rejected a hotly-contested tax hike that would have taken dead aim at their property taxes.

The numbers show the pay for Bossier teachers is falling behind neighboring parishes, leading to the tax proposals.

Now that this latest effort has failed the question becomes will more teachers jump ship to another nearby school district?

And there's even talk of a potential walk out or even teacher strike down the road.

Had the tax measures passed it would have delivered another $7,200 a year for teacher salaries, to keep Bossier competitive with neighboring school districts.

The second, smaller tax proposition met a very similar fate in the polls. It would have funded technology upgrades.

Bossier City business owner Martin Grau has been an outspoken critic of the tax proposals.

"I don't think it's a tax issue. I think it's the people holding the money and distributing it. And that's why you saw 75 percent go against it; has zero to do with paying teachers."

Grau, who we spoke with before the weekend election, told us his opposition is simple, that neither he nor others could afford a 24 percent property tax hike.

But Jackie Lansdale, Red River United President, told us the fight for better wages is far from over.

"Teachers are, want to remain in school, employees remain unified. They've talked about days of unity."

As head of the teacher's union, Lansdale is quick to point out that there is no threat of a walkout, sick day, or even a strike at this point.

But she also cautioned not to push teachers too far either.

"Never underestimate the militancy of a teacher because they can be very militant if you put them in a corner. And quite clearly the business community has put them there."

Lansdale also gave a warning to all those celebrating the defeat of those tax measures over the weekend.

She said elections have consequences. And, if teachers don't get a pay raise sometime in the near future there could be long-term consequences for the district."

Lansdale concluded if parents get frustrated enough they’ll begin moving elsewhere, where a teacher is paid better, leaving Bossier Schools with even less money.

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