Louisiana education board approves raises for teachers, staff and potential stipends
The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved a new K-12 funding formula Wednesday, including a $2,000 raise for certified teachers and a $1,000 raise for support staff beginning in the 2023-2024 school year.
The new funding formula would also give districts more flexibility to pay teachers more if they are meeting a specific need, such as teaching in critical shortage areas or high-needs schools, earning highly-effective ratings or taking on additional teacher leadership roles.
In a news release, the Louisiana Department of Education said the changes to the Minimum Foundation Program – which is the formula the state uses to allocate money to school systems – align with recommendations made by the department to address key issues.
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“I’m pleased to see our MFP proposal move forward with a market-responsive approach for the first time in Louisiana’s history,” said State Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley in a release. “This will be a statewide game-changer for directly targeting pay towards staffing needs and teacher quality.”
The new formula has across-the-board salary increases of $2,000 for certified teachers and $1,000 for non-certified school support staff. The formula also uses a $61-million block grant program to fund stipends that the districts can give teachers working in certain areas.
The stipends could be used for teachers working in critical shortage areas or in schools where 85% or more of the students are economically-disadvantaged. Teachers considered to be highly effective could also be eligible, as could teachers who take on leadership roles to support their peers.
“The formula approved by the Board today supports key priorities for K-12 education in Louisiana,” said Holly Boffy, the BESE president. “As the first step in the state’s education funding process, BESE’s passage of the MFP formula provides $257 million in pay raises for teachers, including $2,000 for all teachers and another $61 million to meet our greatest staffing challenges in the classroom. The new MFP also increases aid for schools and districts struggling to cover rising expenses, and supports career and technical education through dedicated funding. We look forward to working with our partners in the legislature throughout the budgeting process to ensure that our students and educators receive the financial support they deserve.”
BESE added an estimated $21.5 million to the MFP to help school systems manage operational costs, and increased the formula’s allocation for health insurance, retirement, transportation and other costs from $100 to $133 per student. The last time the operational cost component of the MFP was increased was in 2009, and the increase passed Wednesday accounts for inflation over that period.
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The new MFP also includes a $1.5-million increase to the Supplemental Course Allocation, which serves the state-approved apprenticeship programs. The money would be distributed to school systems based on the number of eligible students.
“Business and industry partners frequently shoulder the need for employees trained in career and technical education,” Brumley said. “Dedicating funding to our school systems specifically to support apprenticeships will encourage this career readiness approach to be lifted across Louisiana.”
The state constitution requires BESE to come up with a formula to distribute state funds to public schools and submit it to the Louisiana Legislature each year. The final resolution on the MFP that was approved Wednesday by BESE will be sent to the legislature for consideration by March 15.
The legislature will have the final say on the MFP, but can only accept or reject the formula. The legislature cannot make changes to the formula approved by BESE.
BESE has also asked that the legislature send the formula back to the board so it can add a 2.75% increase to the formula’s base per pupil amount and additional funds for dual enrollment programs if the Revenue Estimating Conference recognizes a surplus during the budget process.