Governor John Bel Edwards says his top priority next year is to increase funding for public education and secure a $1,000 teacher pay raise. Edwards made the statement during his monthly "Ask the Governor Show."
"I also want to make sure that we have a $500 raise to support workers, whether they are cafeteria workers, janitors or bus drivers," said Edwards.
This comes as teacher strikes in red states have had success in both securing pay raises and public school funding increases. Edwards says it’s the first step towards addressing the decade long teacher pay freeze.
"10 years ago we were at the Southern Regional Average in pay, today we are about $2,200 short," said Edwards. "I do not believe we can make up the entire gap in one fell swoop, but I do believe we can cut in half."
After a titanic struggle for funds during the last session, many wonder just where Edwards plans on finding the money to pay for the spending increase on education. He says the answer is straight forward.
"Our economy is going to continue to do well and we will have the revenue necessary to make this additional investment in K-through-12 education," said Edwards.
The proposed pay raise for teachers and school support workers would cost an estimated 114-million dollars.