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  • Writer's pictureJoel David Massey

Legislature Gives K-12 Teachers, Support Staff One Time Stipend, Education Savings Accounts Approved

BATON ROUGE, LA.—Many people are frustrated that every time there is a new governor rules change and it’s like a fruit-basket turnover for education durning a change in administration, especially when the new governor is from the other party.  Some recognize the systemic problems that exist and many good teachers are doing all they can to fix it, but they say that you can’t fix problems by simply changing the rules and throwing more money it with new initiatives.



Though Louisiana ranks near the bottom when it comes to education, teachers will get a one-time $2,000 stipend with support staff getting $1,000 bringing the total cost to $199 million.


Rep. Michael T. Johnson (R), Pineville, says while education is a fundamental pillar of society, so is the family.  And he is saddened by the stories of poor family life and kids who can’t read and do basic math as they get older and are passed on through the system.



Former school superintendent Rep. Larry Bailey (R), Stonewall, called for sweeping changes from everything from school vouchers to teaching cursive handwriting again.  But the final bill was not quite as massive of a change.  


Senate Bill 313 by Sen. Rick Edmonds (R), Baton Rouge, did give authority to BESE to create LA GATOR—which stands for Giving All True Opportunity to Rise Scholarship Program.  It is a Education Savings Account program that would cost the state $260 million each year once made available to all families regardless of income.  The nonpartisan Public Affairs Research Council placed the amount closer to $520 million.



BESE Member Lance Harris says the impetus is for the money to follow the student in public or private school.  The House approved the measure in a 67-29 vote.



Instead of a three-year implementation schedule initially proposed, there state can choose how quickly or slowly they want to make the money available to allow more public K-12 students to attend private schools.


And that’s your look at the state of the state’s education changes. What's your take?

I'd love to hear from you. joeld.massey@gmail.com



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Based on personal interviews as well as reporting by Julie O’Donoghue, Greg Larose, Louisiana Illuminator 



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