Livingston teachers and school employees are overdue for a raise. This weekend, voters had the opportunity to pass a one-cent sales tax that would result in a 10% raise for LPSB employees. Despite widespread support from employees in the district, the measure failed by 1,374 votes. Out of a total of 86,400 registered voters in Livingston Parish, only about 20% cast a vote.
While the ballot measure failed, the underlying issues remain. Livingston parish teachers and school employees are paid less than those in neighboring parishes. Our best educators are being recruited by those neighboring school systems and we will continue to see attrition if this pay gap is not addressed. Livingston has historically had good schools, but we cannot continue to take that for granted. Teachers and other school employees are overworked, under-supported and underpaid, and our schools are struggling.
In the coming months, the Louisiana legislature will consider a state-wide pay raise. While not as significant as the raise we would have seen from the sales tax proposal, it is now more important than ever. We encourage the Livingston Parish School Board and officials to do everything in their power to push the legislature to pass the largest raise possible, something LFT is already working towards. Then, we need to ensure that teachers and school employees in Livingston receive a significant raise so that we can compete with neighboring parishes in recruiting the best and brightest educators.
In order to successfully pass a raise in Livingston, we need to work with our central office administration and the larger community to identify specific needs and rebuild trust. In the meantime, we need to do everything possible to improve working conditions for teachers and staff with whatever the budget allows. Collaboration is crucial. Teachers and school employees can’t go on feeling unsupported.
Join us at the school board meeting on Thursday so that we can express our disappointment and begin to work past this loss towards future success. It is important for the administration and the school board to see us at this meeting and hear how we feel. The School Board agenda includes time for a discussion about our concerns and the future of pay raises for LPSB employees.