Teachers woke up to find in their Sunday newspaper some good news: Teacher Appreciation Week began with a majority of voters in Jefferson Parish approving a new 7.9-mill property tax for raises for teachers and school employees in the largest school system in the state.
Others have also stepped up, such as voters in St. Tammany Parish who approved two proposals supporting education — for construction and for school resource officers and mental health support for children.
While there has been much attention paid to the drive for a general statewide teacher pay raise at the Legislature, pushed by Gov. John Bel Edwards and a bipartisan group of legislators — a cause we support — the weekend results also should be a reminder that teacher pay is a joint responsibility of state and local government.
The Legislature should follow through on the pay raise initiative but at about $1,000 a year, that’s not enough. Property taxes are the major source of education funding in school systems across America. We can’t fulfill the goals of Teacher Appreciation Week if parishes do not expect that over time millages will have to go up to keep educators’ pay competitive.
Jefferson Parish voters on Saturday resoundingly approved a new 7.9-mill, 10-year property tax to fund raises for teachers and other employees.