‘It’s not even gas money:’ Teachers react to Gov. Edwards’ pay raise proposal

‘It’s not even gas money:’ Teachers react to Gov. Edwards’ pay raise proposal
‘It’s not even gas money:’ Teachers react to Gov. Edwards’ pay raise proposal(WAFB)
Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 10:45 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana teachers could get a pay raise if Gov. Edwards gets his budget wish list.

In his budget proposal to lawmakers, Governor John Bel Edwards hopes to see a pay raise that includes an extra $1,500 for K-12 teachers and $750 for school support staff.

Teachers in East Baton Rouge called this a step in the right direction, but is it enough?

“Teachers would get maybe $75 per paycheck more, and for support staff, it would be $37 more,” said Antronie Williams.

Williams is a secretary at a school in East Baton Rouge.

She said if you spread it over nine months, it’s barely a drop in the bucket.

“It’s not even gas money. Gas is steady going up. You’re transporting trying to get yourself to work. It’s not enough,” said Williams.

Williams said state leaders have to open their purse and pay teachers if they want to fix the issues schools are facing across the state.

She pointed to the ongoing teacher shortage, talent leaving the state and young people choosing to not break into the field.

Teachers like Jaret Guidry are starting to feel the pressure.

“There are days where I am hanging on by a thread. I have my little resume done up, and I have my letter of resignation, and sometimes I just look at it. I haven’t submitted yet, because I love the kids and I love what I do, but I don’t always love the job,” said Guidry.

She said close to a dozen of her coworkers have picked up a second job just to make ends meet.

“Off the top of my head? 10, and that’s just within my close friendship circle,” said Guidry.

The increase would put our teachers closer to the Southern Regional Average which is around $55,000. The current average teacher salary in Louisiana is just over $51,000.

“I know he wants to get us to the starting average, but that’s just the starting point,” said Kirk Green, a middle school teacher. We have a craft. We are professionals. We should be paid, treated, and respected like that.”

They believe that one day we will reach that average, it’s just a matter of when that has some teachers on the fence.

“Is the Southern Regional Average in reach? I think it probably is. Are we going to get there? I don’t think we are,” said Williams.

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