school bus stock

About 60 percent of teachers surveyed said they favor a statewide walkout or strike to land a "significant" pay raise, leaders of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers said Monday.

Also, 59 percent said they would back a "mass demonstration" at the State Capitol, according to the survey.

"Our survey shows that teachers are fed up, not just with low pay but also with a lack of resources, crumbling facilities, poor student discipline and a lack of parental involvement," LFT President Larry Carter told reporters.

Can't see video below? Click here.

The 16-question survey, which included nearly 4,000 teachers, comes at a time when teachers have held strikes and other action in Oklahoma, West Virginia and Arizona to demand higher pay.

The questionnaire was not scientific.

LFT members were asked to respond to questions online.

Teacher pay here, which reached the regional average in 2007, has since fallen below that target by $1,705.

Louisiana's roughly 50,000 public school teachers are paid an average of $49,244 yearly compared to the $50,949 average for Southern states, according to the Southern Regional Education Board.

The national average is $58,064.

All the figures are for the 2015-16 school year, the latest available.

Carter said what actions teachers take depend largely on how the Legislature addresses public school funding issues.

He said LFT leaders plan to meet with local affiliates during the summer to see "what it will take to actually gain a pay raise."

If teachers see little response from the Legislature "they may actually step up and take action sooner than we can predict."

LFT officials did not spell out what they view as a significant pay raise.

Carter said he believes starting pay for teachers should be about $75,000 annually.

The survey was taken from April 10-May 7.

It says, "School funding in Louisiana has remained stagnant for most of the last decade, and our teacher salaries are now about $2,000 below the Southern regional average. Another budget crisis is looming, and yet our Legislature has taken no steps to avert it."

Teachers were asked to let LFT leaders know "what you think about salaries in our state and what you think will help correct the situation."

Carter told reporters teacher strikes elsewhere have not gone unnoticed in Louisiana.

"I do believe there has been a spark coming out of West Virginia where they (teachers) are looking to colleagues across the country and thinking maybe it is their time," he said.

The action in West Virginia, like Oklahoma and Arizona, sparked attention in part because they are politically conservative states where teacher walkouts are more rare than California, New York and Illinois.

No salary hikes are expected from the state this year.

Last week the Legislature gave final approval to a $3.7 billion public school spending plan for the 2018-19 school year, the 10th time in the past 11 years that basic state aid has been frozen.

The only increases will cover the costs of new students.

Teacher pay was barely mentioned during the two-month session, which ended last Friday.

The lack of any boost from the state stems largely from an ongoing budget crisis, including a $648 million shortfall starting July 1.

The Legislature starts a special session on Tuesday – the sixth in the past two years – to try to reach agreement with Gov. John Bel Edwards on revenue-raising measures.

Both the LFT and the Louisiana Association of Educators, the other union, are closely aligned with Edwards.

Each group represents about 20,000 teachers and other school personnel.

Shane Riddle, legislative and political director for the LAE, said Monday the fact state aid for public schools has been frozen for the past decade, larger class sizes and other factors contribute to heightened concerns among educators. "I feel like the momentum is sort of building, the frustration is building," Riddle said.

Nearly 90 percent of about 400 teachers who took part in a recent gathering said they would participate in a rally at the State Capitol, he said.

Follow Will Sentell on Twitter, @WillSentell.