Educators Fight Budget Cuts

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 - 7:38pm

Educators are not giving up without a fight; they’re planning to rally next week. Teachers are upset about the more than $400 million in budget cuts proposed this year and they’re making their voices heard to state lawmakers.

As the legislative session quickly approaches, looming budget cuts jeopardize the fate of the state education system. On Tuesday morning the Louisiana Federation of Teachers along with several organizations challenged lawmakers along with Governor Bobby Jindal to stick to their original platform by remaining committed to funding higher education. Whitney Breaux says, “This is a time to not throw our higher education systems to the wayside it is the opportune time to show the state and the country that we are committed to our systems of higher education.”

Right now the proposed budget includes $219 million in cuts to colleges and universities and $200 million for elementary and secondary education. Despite the major cuts, the LFT hopes that lawmakers will consider approving pay raises for employees and place stipends for nationally certified personnel back into the budget. LFT President Steve Monaghan says, “The public has a right to know how much education cost and the public then has an obligation as we all do to see that we do take care of our future.”

And when it comes to statewide testing, the organizations say the money used for tests could be used for more important things such as refurbishing buildings. They are asking lawmakers to rethink the state’s accountability plan. Carnell Washington of E.B.R. Federation of Teachers says, “A plan that is only designed to fail students, it has nothing to do with what that kid does in the classroom from day one to the end of the school year.”

While legislators prepare for the first day of the session, LFT is gearing up in all black to promote Black Monday, a day of mourning for Louisiana schools.