Jefferson Parish residents won't get to vote on a teacher pay raise millage this year.
After months of wrangling, the School Board voted last week to set May 4 as the date for an election on a millage hike to fund raises.
Three members — Cedric Floyd, Ricky Johnson and Marion "Coach" Bonura — voted against the measure. Floyd had urged the board to put a millage on the Dec. 8 ballot. Even if the tax passes, revenue would not be collected until the start of 2020, but Floyd proposed using other funds to make the raises take effect Jan. 1, 2019.
Floyd and others have long noted that Jefferson Parish lags behind most surrounding parishes in teacher pay and, as a consequence, loses hundreds of teachers every year. Jefferson residents also pay a lower school millage than most of the surrounding parishes.
Last year, parish voters narrowly rejected an 8.45-mill tax increase dedicated to employee raises.
That Jefferson teachers need a raise is a consensus belief. School Superintendent Cade Brumley, who was hired in March, has said the parish must compete better with surrounding parishes for teachers.
School Board President Mark Morgan has appointed a committee, made up of representatives of the business community and teachers unions, to help develop a plan for a tax millage. Several of its members spoke Tuesday night and urged the board to let them do their work before offering a ballot measure.
Floyd presented a plan for an 11.7-mill tax increase, but it never got to a vote. Floyd paired the pay-raise millage with one for facilities that pushed his total principal to 16.99 mills. Instead, a substitute motion to delay the election until May passed 6-3.
By then, of course, the board could look completely different. Seven of its nine seats are up for grabs in November's elections.
Editor's note: This post was updated Sept. 17 to clarify that Cedric Floyd's teacher pay raise millage was coupled with another millage for facility improvements.