Louisiana Senate Education Committee approves school funding formula

The Senate Education Committee on Friday approved a resolution to adopt a school funding formula for next year with teacher pay raises and bonuses, despite opposition in the House.

The Senate Education Committee last week voted down the state education board’s changes to its funding formula, detailed in Senate Concurrent Resolution 2, which includes a $2,000 raise for teachers, $1,000 raise for support staff, and stipends for teachers in certain schools and leadership roles.

SCR 2 is projected to increase school funding by $282 million, with $197.7 million going toward pay raises for teachers and support workers. The House approved a budget last week without the pay raises, opting instead to spend the surplus and excess funds on pension debt to avoid increasing a spending cap in the constitution.

House Republicans argued local districts could apply savings from pension obligations toward the raises. Senate leaders and Gov. John Bel Edwards want to increase the spending cap, which requires approval from two-thirds of lawmakers in both chambers, to fund the raises, as well as investments in neglected state facilities, and road and bridge projects.

The rejection of SCR 2 sent the proposal back to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, which is the only entity authorized to revise the funding formula, but BESE voted to defer action on Wednesday.

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