Louisiana teacher strike possible before end of school year?

November 12, 2018 - 4:41 pm

Louisiana Federation of Teachers President Larry Carter says if the legislature stalls on a teacher pay raise, you could see a mass walk out by the end of the school year. A recent survey found 61 percent of educators would support a strike.

Carter says many teachers are waiting to see the revenue forecast for next year, but some are ready to make an immediate statement.

“There’s, in certain districts around the state, some members, some teachers, and some school employees who are willing to walk out today,” he said.

The average pay in 2015-1016 for a teacher in Louisiana is 49,900 dollars, over 1,700 dollars lower than the regional average. The national average is 58,000.

Governor John Bel Edwards has backed a move to raise pay 1,000 dollars for teachers, and 500 dollars for support personnel. Carter says the union hasn’t decided on its own number, but they will not accept any deal that does not include secretaries, bus drivers, classroom aides, and other support staff.

“Teachers are willing to stand up for their coworkers and colleagues, for some type of raise. At the state level and at the local level we’ve seen that conversation happening.”

LFT will also include a 2.75 percent classroom funding increase as part of their demands.

The LFT says teacher salaries have declined nearly 2,000 dollars since 2012, but in some areas the problem has grown even worse as pay raises in districts like Tangipahoa have been shot down. Carter says that’s leading to lopsided educational results statewide.

“They shop around, the teachers now in different parishes, to see who is paying the most. Then they are leaving, and it’s leaving a big hole in parishes that cannot compete.”

Carter says any strike decision would be a democratic decision, and not one made by union leadership.

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