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The Legislative Session is Underway!

The First Week of the Session

The 2021 Legislative Session began Monday, April 12th and LFT is tracking nearly 50 bills, all with the potential to impact Louisiana teachers, school employees, and their students. Our primary areas of focus include legislation around teacher & student evaluations, ensuring a pay raise for teachers & school employees, protecting employees’ union rights and protecting public funding sources for public education.

Here’s what you need to know:
 

EVALUATIONS:

SB 35 (Sen. Carter)/ SB 117 (Sen. Tarver) This past school year, has been unlike anything we’ve had to deal with before and teachers and students have done their best to overcome insurmountable obstacles. Now more than ever, it’s important for students and teachers to be exempt from the rigorous and often inaccurate evaluative measures that are used during a normal school year. This legislation would remove all measures of student growth (not just VAM) from any evaluations of teacher performance/effectiveness for the 2020-2021 school year. (SUPPORT)

PAY RAISES

SCR 2 (Sen. Fields): This is the bill that carries the MFP as recommended by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. The legislature has two options, pass through the MFP as recommended, or send it back to BESE for amendments. LFT asks that the legislature send it back to BESE in order to secure a raise equivalent to what was passed in 2019 ($1,000 for teachers and $500 for support employees) – or more. (OPPOSE)
 
SB 24 (Sen. Price) would increase the minimum benefit for retirees to $1,450 per month. Unfortunately, this won’t increase everyone’s monthly benefit, but it will provide an increase for those who have fallen below the poverty line. Sen. Price has expressed his intent to continue to work to increase benefits for retirees in the future. (SUPPORT)
 
SB 51 (Sen. Carter) Authorizes an annual individual income tax credit of $1000 for certified teachers currently employed in public/approved schools. (SUPPORT)
 

PROTECTING EMPLOYEE RIGHTS

SB 129 (Sen. Jackson) would require districts to give teachers a minimum of forty-five minutes of planning time and a minimum of thirty minutes for lunch each day, duty free, if state funds are available. (SUPPORT)
 
HB 256 (Rep. Tarver) Would allow alternate organizations to collect dues, even when there is a union with collective bargaining & exclusivity. This would undermine the bedrock of the labor movement: collective bargaining and undermine the collective power of Louisiana’s teachers and school
employees. (OPPOSE)
 


FUNDING FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION

SB 138 (Fields) would expand the child care tax credit to help families afford early childhood education. (SUPPORT)
 
HB 421 (Emerson) would force local school districts to create “learning pods” within traditional schools, without giving school districts the resources they need to hire additional teachers and support alternative learning practices. Ultimately, this is an unfunded mandate and an unfair burden to place on our schools. (OPPOSE)
 
HB 556 (DeViller) Would divert public funding towards unapproved and unvetted educational institutions. In order to get the biggest bang for our buck, state educational funding should go towards public school districts that are transparent with their budget and accountable to their community. (OPPOSE)
 
SB 10 (Fields) Would make kindergarten mandatory for all students and fully fund the additional enrollment in the funding formula for Louisiana public schools (MFP). (SUPPORT)
 
Additionally, there are a slew of bills that would provide massive tax cuts for large corporations, which could put educational funding in jeopardy. We will work to protect education funding on every level.
 
As the session progresses, things are bound to change and we will keep you up to date with all the information most pressing for Louisiana teachers & school employees. If you aren't already subscribed to these alerts, you can sign up here.