BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Governor John Bel Edwards signed the state operating budget Tuesday, June 18 without a single line-item veto.
It includes more than $200 million in new education funding, half of which is earmarked for pay raises for nearly 100,000 teachers across the state. Certified teachers will receive $1,000 more each year. Lunch servers, janitors, and other support staff will receive $500 more.
“This is the best budget for education in Louisiana in well over a decade,” Edwards said. “That’s what we need in Louisiana because that’s what inspires confidence in employers to invest in Louisiana.”
Local school districts will get an additional $40 million, which represents a small increase in the per pupil funding within the state’s education formula. Some schools will use their additional money to offer even higher raises.
Higher education will also receive $40 million more. Some of that money is meant for TOPS so the state can meet a higher demand for the popular aid program.
The funding boost comes after a decade of financial turmoil and disinvestment in Louisiana that was reversed when lawmakers agreed to a sales tax compromise in 2018. This $200 million increase in funding for education is primarily driven by an improving economy, where income tax collections are higher because Louisianans are making more money.
“The worst thing we can do is get off the path that we’re finally on,” Edwards said. “The train is no longer in the ditch. It’s back on the tracks.”