Caddo school leaders spell out their 10 priorities for upcoming legislative session
Parish wants state to invest in its teachers, support staffers
SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — Louisiana lawmakers have plenty to consider during the upcoming legislative session.
The gathering that will convene at noon Monday, March 14 is general in nature, meaning almost any topic is fair game for legislative action. That is, with the exception of proposals for new taxes or tax increases because this session falls in an even-numbered year.
Even so, about 800 pieces of legislation have been prefiled in the state’s House of Representatives. And almost 400 more have been prefiled in the Senate.
While considering those, Caddo Parish school officials want state lawmakers to keep a few things in mind. So school district leaders met over breakfast with local delegates Thursday, March 10 to discuss their top 10 priorities for this legislative session.
Below is how Caddo School District spelled out its priorities:
1) Direct additional state resources to students by raising the Minimum Foundation Program allocation
“BESE is reviewing a proposal to provide for the growth factor increase for MFP. In order for school systems to continue to support our students and improve learning opportunities, our schools must continue to receive the funding for curriculum and resources that accounts for increasing costs.”
2) Expand access to high-quality early childhood education through additional funding
“While our district has made great strides in providing pre-K opportunities across our community, we remain unable to provide PreK for all students due to current funding limitations at the state level. Sustainable sources of funding for quality prekindergarten help families and better prepare students for academic success in K-12.”
3) Support opportunities to prepare students for high-wage and high-demand jobs
“We are grateful for funding provided to date in support of career and technical education opportunities for students. We are asking the Legislature to consider increasing funds for this purpose as we work to provide innovative and work force-aligned program offerings to students which lead to industry-based certifications.”
4) Allow schools and affiliated organizations to raise funds without bureaucracy
“Updates in the manner in which the Gaming Commission interprets state law no longer allows PTAs, schools or other organizations to host raffles without going through an extensive process for a full gaming license. This is not only beyond what we believe was intended for gaming licenses but also beyond the scope of what many schools and groups have time to complete. Legislation has been filed to relax this requirement for the purpose of fundraising. Additionally, schools and organizations are also required to abide by USDA nutrition guidelines, even for fundraisers and carnivals. Legislators will also consider whether to allow exceptions for opportunities such as field days and carnivals to allow schools to fundraise using a wider option of products.”
5) Elevate the work of teachers and see them as professionals
“Legislation has been filed that seeks to require teachers to individual upload all of their lesson plans for the year to be viewed by the public prior to the school year beginning. In addition, legislation has also been filed which would require schools and districts to upload all curriculum and resources for community review. For teachers, this has brought concern as the requirements come before they’ve even had a chance to meet students, and thus, would not allow the liberty for them to adapt lessons based on individual student needs. We ask legislators to see our educators as professionals and allow them to focus on the students they serve and delivering impactful lessons rather than spending time in other areas.”
6) Invest in teachers and support staff with sustainable state resources allocated for pay raises
“Louisiana has made strides in recent years to increase pay for teachers and support staff to bring the state closer to the Southern average; however, more work must be done. The current proposal would provide an increased salary for both teachers and support staff.”
7) Increase efforts to recruit and retain certified teachers and recognize the implications of statewide teacher shortages on local economies
“Schools are the centers of communities. As such, our state should consider initiatives designed to bring teachers into the profession and retain them. Without this, communities are not as attractive to business and industry.”
8) Address burdensome certification requirements to lighten the load on those interested in entering the teaching profession
“For individuals interested in becoming teachers, the state should align with neighboring states to adopt similar requirements for certification. This allows districts to better recruit across state lines and compete for the best teachers.”
9) Provide incentives or training development funds for career changers new to teaching, particularly those who are content experts from other professions and current paraprofessionals
“For individuals who are increasingly entering the profession from another career, the opportunity to provide incentives as well as professional development opportunities provides a means for recruitment and retention while also increasing student access to experts in subject areas. This also includes investing in alternative certification programs that are proven to develop high-quality teachers such as Caddo Teaching Academy.”
10) Allow retired teachers to more easily return to work
“In recent years, the notion of retired teachers returning to the classroom has been difficult and comes at a cost to the retired teacher. As states face teacher shortages, we must do all we can to ensure students are taught by certified, qualified educators and provide opportunities for retirees to re-enter the classroom if they so choose.”
- Click here to review proposed constitutional amendments and joint resolutions
- Click here to review bills pre-filed in the House of Representatives
- Click here to review bills pre-filed in the Senate
- Click here to search for a particular piece of legislation
You also can used the Public Update Legislative Services Line to track the status of legislation. Legislative staffers answer your questions about bills on various topics, direct you to the proper place for committee information, explain aspects of the legislative process, and more.
The PULS Line is available by calling 225-342-2456 or (toll free in Louisiana) 800-256-3793. The TTY contact telephone numbers are 225-219-4688 in Baton Rouge and 888-850-6489 statewide.
During the session, the service is available between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Friday.
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