BESE approves teacher pay raises in 2021-22 education funding formula

BESE approves teacher pay raises in 2021-22 education funding formula
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BATON ROUGE, La. (KSLA) — The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) unanimously approved the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) formula for the 2021-22 school year, increasing state education funding by an estimated $80 million.

Approximately half of the formula will fund an annual pay raise of $400 for teachers and $200 for support staffers. A 1.375% increase to the statewide per-pupil amount would boost state aid to public school systems by $40 million.

“As we initiate the funding process for K-12 education and the state budget picture comes into clearer focus, it remains important to continue moving the salaries of our dedicated Louisiana teachers toward the regional average, and ensure increased funding support for our schools and school systems as they continue to meet the challenge of educating students amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” BESE President Sandy Holloway said.

The MFP defines the cost of educating all public school students in the state. The Louisiana Constitution requires BESE to develop a formula to distribute state funds to public schools and to submit the proposal to the Louisiana Legislature.

The final resolution outlining the formula approved by BESE will be sent to the Legislature.

“The approved MFP formula, developed with broad stakeholder input, represents a strong starting point in the process. We look forward to working with our partners in the Legislature in the weeks ahead to equitably and effectively meet the funding needs of all students, educators and schools,” Holloway said.

Louisiana educators, support staffs might get a pay raise

BESE’s resolution aligns with the recommendations of the MFP Task Force. The formula’s $40 million education pay raise provision also mirrors the proposed allocation in Gov. John Bel Edwards’s 2021-22 executive budget.

The approved formula for 2021-22 specifically would provide for:

  • an increase of 1.375% in the base per-pupil rate of revenue in Level 1 of the formula, from $4,015 to $4,070, yielding a projected $40 million increase for local schools and school systems;
  • a pay raise of $400 for certificated staff and $200 for non-certificated support staff with retirements in Level 4 of the formula; and
  • a funding allocation in Level 4 of the formula for annual stipends to certified mentor teachers in the amount of $2,000 per mentor teacher.

“Every little bit helps. You always got to keep in mind, every penny added to your salary goes to retirement,” said Jason Rowland, assistant superintendent of personnel and administration for Bossier Parish Schools.

Doris Voitier, a BESE board member, said she hopes and expects to the add more to the pay raises, if possible.

“While we’re grateful for the $400 increase to fund at that level, we’re asking that when the Revenue Estimating Conference meets at the end of April, that if additional revenue is recognized (signs indicate that is a very real possibility) that the Legislature then sends the formula back to BESE and we will then meet with a request to increase the amount for the pay raise that we’re proposing for teachers.”

The board authorized the Louisiana Education Department to submit the MFP resolution to the Legislature by its March 15, 2021, deadline.

Voitier also noted that the additional 1.375% increase could be used for anything education-related that school districts may need, especially considering the additional costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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