"Teachers don't get paid enough."

That's the prevailing thought across Louisiana as the state continues to sit under the Southern Regional Average.

What Is Southern Regional Average? And How Much Do Louisiana Teachers Get Paid?

According to usnews.com, the Southern average for teachers is $55,205. Louisiana teachers get paid an average of $51,586 during the 2019-2020 school year. That's 12th among the 16 states in the region.

Both of these figures sit well below the national average of $64,133.

Teacher And Student
Photo by Duane Prokop/Getty Images for Feeding America
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Now, keep in mind that the national average includes states like New York who, according to the State University of New York (SUNY) think tank, make $79,588 as the average teacher salary, as pointed out by edweek.org. It also costs more to live in New York than it does in Louisiana.

How Are Louisiana Teachers One Step Closer to Getting Pay Raises?

On Monday, the House Appropriations Committee approved a spending plan for next fiscal year. This fiscal plan calls for and contains $1,500 pay raises for teachers and $750 for support staff. This raise - if it passes the full House and Senate and is signed by Governor John Bel Edwards - would push teacher salaries up $3,300 over the last four years, as noted by Louisiana Radio Network.

Louisiana State Capitol, jdthedjyt via YouTube
Louisiana State Capitol, jdthedjyt via YouTube
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"We still need to work toward getting them to the Southern Regional Average, but we have and will continue to support teachers as demonstrated in this year’s budget and the previous three,” said Chairman Jerome Zeringue of Houma as he pointed out previous teacher pay raises approved by legislators and Edwards over the last four years.

School Bus Drivers Could Be Getting A Pay Raise Too

Meanwhile, a separate bill that would give school bus drivers a pay raise is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Finance Committee on Monday. Covington Senator Patrick McMath's bill seeks to raise the compensation rate for them for the first time since the 1980s.

Staff Photo
Staff Photo
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“They own their own school buses, they’re responsible for bringing our kids to and from school in a safe manner, and we need to make sure they have the best equipment to be able to do that,” said McMath to Louisiana Radio Network.

Currently, the minimum rate is $1.47 a mile for buses with 48 passengers or less. The bill would raise that to $1.76 a mile.

Now, Back To That Budget Bill

There are three more things worth pointing out about the budget bill as highlighted by LRN.

  1. The State's Unemployment Trust Fund would be replenished with $500 million in federal pandemic aid.
  2. Gov. Edwards' recommendation for a $100 increase in supplemental pay for local police and firefighters is not included.
  3. House Republicans do not agree with Gov. Edwards' idea of spending $500 million towards the construction of a new Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge. Estimates say the new I-10 bridge could cost $2.5 Billion.

Next step for the budget bill: the House floor on Thursday.

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