Louisiana’s two largest public school teacher unions, the Louisiana Federation of Teachers and the Louisiana Association of Educators, announced they are teaming up in an effort to prevent cuts to public school funding. LAE President Debbie Meaux believes they can achieve powerful results by working together.
“Our biggest mission is to make sure that we protect public school funding for the children of Louisiana,” Meaux said.
"We can accomplish far more together than we can by remaining divided," said LFT President Steve Monaghan. "During the last legislative session and the gubernatorial election, we demonstrated the power that teachers and school employees can wield when we find our common ground and look for solutions that work for our members, our students and our schools."
Meaux says the unions also want to make sure that the accountability and evaluation systems are in place for both students and teachers in Louisiana. Meaux says the unions are afraid the legislature won’t go along with the governor’s plan to increase taxes and public schools could lose funding.
“If the legislators themselves can’t come to a middle ground with the governor, anything is possible,” Meaux said.
The governor's proposed budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1st does not call for a reduction of state funding for public schools and the LFT and LAE would like for that to remain the case.
"Governor Edwards and the Legislature are facing Louisiana's worst crisis in decades," Monaghan said. "Our members expect the Legislature to work with the governor and act in the best interest of the state. Now is not the time for partisan chest-beating or for trying to score political points. We can survive this crisis and set the state on firm fiscal footing, but only if our leaders put aside their differences and concentrate on what really matters for our common future."