BESE increases teacher pay in K-12 funding formula

Published 10:30 am Sunday, March 19, 2023

The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has unanimously adopted a new statewide K-12 education funding formula for the 2023-24 school year. The new Minimum Foundation Program formula aligns with the recommendations of the Louisiana Department of Education, addressing the key areas of educator and support staff pay, workforce development and operational costs.

The MFP also introduces a differentiated compensation element to teacher salaries. School systems will have the flexibility to pay teachers more for meeting specific needs such as teaching in critical shortage areas or high needs schools, earning highly-effective ratings, or taking on additional teacher leadership roles.

“I’m pleased to see our MFP proposal move forward with a market responsive approach for the first time in Louisiana’s history,” said State Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley. “This will be a statewide game-changer for directly targeting pay towards staffing needs and teacher quality.”

The adopted formula includes across-the-board salary increases of $2,000 for certificated teachers and $1,000 for non-certificated school support staff. In addition, BESE approved the addition of a differentiated compensation provision for teacher salaries, established in the MFP formula in the form of a $61 million block grant program. Under the new provision, school systems would receive dollars to fund stipends for teachers working in critical shortage areas, highly-effective teachers, teachers working in schools with an economically disadvantaged student population rate of 85% or higher, and teacher leaders working to support their peers.

The new MFP also increases aid for schools and districts struggling to cover rising expenses, and supports career and technical education through dedicated funding, said Holly Boffy, BESE president.

BESE also added a projected $21.5 million to the MFP to help school systems meet ever-increasing operational costs.

The board increased the formula’s Mandated Costs Allocation from $100 to $133 per student to support health insurance, retirement, transportation and other operational costs incurred by school systems. This reflects the rate of inflation from 2009 when this operational component was last increased.

Also included in the new MFP is a projected $1.5 million increase to the formula’s Supplemental Course Allocation, dedicated to state-approved apprenticeship programs. Funds would be distributed to school systems based on the number of eligible students, with an enrollment limit of 250 applicants annually across both semesters. Systems designated as rural by the U.S. Census Bureau would receive $3,500 per enrolled student, and non-rural systems would receive $2,500 per enrolled student.

The MFP defines the cost of educating all K-12 public school students in Louisiana. The state’s constitution requires BESE to develop a formula for distributing state funds to public schools and submit it to the Louisiana Legislature each year. The final resolution outlining the formula approved by BESE today will be sent to the Legislature for consideration by March 15. Per state law, the Legislature may approve or reject the formula submitted by BESE but cannot make changes to it. Should the Revenue Estimating Conference recognize additional funds during the budget approval process, BESE also requested the legislature to return the formula to the Board so that a 2.75% increase to the formula’s base per pupil amount and additional funds for dual enrollment programs may be added.