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BESE Approves MFP & More

BESE APPROVES MFP TASK FORCE’S RECOMMENDATION

This week, BESE determined their MFP proposal which is the school funding formula for K-12 public schools. They determined, without objection, to approve the recommendation from the MFP task force (with one small amendment, see below):

  • A 2.75% increase in level one of the MFP (the base per-pupil amount)
  • Given the requirement that in districts where teachers are paid below the Southern Regional Average, ½ of that increase must go to teacher pay raises.

This adds up to an $80 million dollar increase in the MFP.

While we’re happy that this is more than what was originally proposed by the Governor’s office, it does not include any money specifically allocated for support staff raise. LFT President Larry Carter testified before BESE on Tuesday about the importance of guaranteeing raises for our dedicated and underpaid support staff. As it stands, local school districts can use the additional funding in Level 1 of the MFP to give support staff a pay raise, but there is nothing requiring them to do so.

In addition to the funding approved by the MFP Task Force, BESE also included one amendment: to fund the Teacher Mentor program with MFP funds. The Teacher Mentor program is pilot program for the LDOE initiative and so far it has been funded through grants. However, and as President Carter testified, because it is LDOE directive, it should continue to be funded with money outside of the MFP.

The deadline for BESE to send the MFP to the legislature is March 15, where it will begin the legislative process.  The legislature can only vote the resolution up or down. If they want any changes to the BESE recommendation, they will have to send the MFP back to BESE with recommendations – only BESE can alter the MFP. While we would like to see BESE add funding to the MFP, it is far more likely that if the MFP is sent back to BESE, it will be because the legislature wants BESE to reduce funding.

NEW SUPERINTENDENT

Kira Orange-Jones delivered an update from the Superintendent Search Committee about the ongoing process to find a replacement for outgoing State Superintendent John White. She reported that there were about 20 applicants as of Friday March 6th and soon they would begin working with an outside firm to screen those applicants and choose finalists for the full board to review.

The Board appointed Chief Financial Officer Beth Scioneaux to serve as the Acting Louisiana State Superintendent of Education effective March 12th until such time as a new State Superintendent has been hired.

What do you think is the most important quality for the next State Superintendent? Let us know by completing this survey

JUMP START 2.0

The Academic Goals and Instructional Improvement Committee had a long discussion about Jump Start, including concerns about the implementation process of the 2.0 program. While many experts testified to the merits of having innovative career and technical education (CTE) available to students, some educators from within the Jump Start program expressed concerns about execution and anticipated implementation of the 2.0 program. In particular, there was a desire for additional universal courses, including courses that span multiple pathways.
Moreover, the Louisiana Department of Education states on the Louisiana Believes website that “despite best efforts, a stigma remains attached to CTE. The Jump Start career diploma is not viewed as an equivalent to the TOPS University diploma.”
Unfortunately, the LDOE itself is in fact perpetuating this stigma by giving high schools less points on the school performance score for students who follow the CTE path than for those perusing the TOPS University. Additionally, this practice puts pressure on schools to encourage students to follow the higher education path, even if that may not be the best choice for the student, thus putting students’ futures at risk. 

Ultimately, the Board did decide to approve the roll out of the Jump Start 2.0 program, but will receive a progress report in the coming months.

Are you a Career and Technical Educator within the Jump Start program? What has your experience been? Let us know: click here to complete a brief survey.

NATIONAL BOARD CERTIFIED TEACHER RECOGNITION

March 13, 2020 is National Board Certified Teacher Day in Louisiana, as proclaimed by Governor John Bel Edwards. For the third year in a row, BESE hosted a ceremony for new and recertified NBCT during their Wednesday Board meeting.

National Board Certification was designed by educators to develop, retain and recognize accomplished teachers throughout the country. It is largely regarded as the most respected professional certification available in K-12 education.

The certification process is quite rigorous and can take up to five years, but the process is designed to be flexible, efficient, and affordable. Candidates must demonstrate advanced knowledge, skills, and practice in one of 25 certificate areas. For more information about how to become a NBCT go to nbpts.org

 

Attendance Report: All BESE members were in attendance for all committee meetings and the general board meeting.