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JFT Update: February 14th

JFT Update

February 14, 2022

Pay Raise Proposal

In January, the Governor announced his Executive Budget. Each year the Governor releases his proposed budget, based on the revenue recognized by the state Revenue Estimating Conference, and it is largely considered to be the starting point for the state budget process.
 
In this year’s budget, the Governor proposed a $1,500 raise for teachers and $750 for school employees. He also said that if the REC recognizes additional revenue at their meeting in May, $49 million should go towards funding an additional $500 pay increase for teachers.
 
This raise would be the largest state-wide pay raise that Louisiana teachers have received in over a decade, and there are already members of the legislature questioning whether or not such an amount is feasible. But the truth is, this isn’t enough. Our schools have gone through cataclysmic changes in the last couple years. Educators feel like they’re working more than ever. Teacher retirement has gone up 25% from 2020-2021 and enrollment in teaching programs is at an all-time low. In order to get out of this hole we’re in, Louisiana needs to do more than just a few hundred dollars better than what was done last year, we need policy makers to recognize the extraordinary sacrifice of our teachers and school employees and rise to this extraordinary moment in history.
 
Louisiana is nearly $5,000 below the Southern Regional Average, and given teacher raises that are being proposed in other states, that number is only going up. Teachers deserve at least a $2,500 increase this year and next year, along with guaranteed cola increases in perpetuity, so that we don’t fall back into this hole again.
 

JFT Scholarships

JFT offers two (2) college or university scholarships. Each scholarship will be in the amount of $500 per year over a period of four years, for a total scholarship of $2,000 each. Children of JFT members, who are graduating high school seniors, are eligible to apply for the scholarships. Please email lmarino@jft.org for more information.

 

Campaign to Spread Awareness About Need for School Funding

 
 
LFT is launching a state-wide radio campaign next month!
 
The past two years have put an incredible strain on teachers, school employees and their students. COVID-19 and its continuous stream of variants has killed over 15 thousand people in Louisiana alone and caused long term social and emotional damage to the children of this state. Now more than ever, we need to prioritize the overall health of our students. Increasing our vaccination rate will help life return to normal, but we also need to increase school funding in order to support mental health services, teacher and school employee retention and recruitment, remediation programs to help students catch up and more. We have seen how important schools are, now it’s time to give them the funding that our students and teachers deserve.
 
This legislative session, LFT is calling on all of our state legislators to recognize the incredible accomplishments of our teachers and school staff throughout the pandemic. Let’s finally give them the support that they need to thrive!
 

Free College for You and Your Family

Are you, or any of your family members interested in getting their Associate’s Degree? What about their Bachelor’s Degree? College doesn’t have to be expensive, if someone in your family is an LFT member. AFT and Union Plus offer all members and their family members the opportunity to earn a full bachelor’s degree with no out-of-pocket costs: no tuition payments, fees or even books! “Family members” includes your spouse or domestic partners, children, grandchildren, siblings, nieces, nephews and dependents. Click here to learn more.
 
Not interested in free college? There are still tons of other benefits for LFT members and their families. As a member, you have access to scholarships, free trauma counseling, student debt relief counseling as well as discounts on hotels, car rental, flights, mortgage programs, computers, new cars and so much more. Click here to learn more.

American Federation of Teachers

The American Federation of Teachers, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, was founded in 1916 and today represents 1.7 million members in more than 3,000 local affiliates nationwide. As a JFT member, you are also a part of the AFT.

Five divisions within the AFT represent the broad spectrum of the AFT's membership: pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; and nurses and other healthcare professionals. In addition, the AFT represents approximately 80,000 early childhood educators and nearly 250,000 retiree members.
 
The AFT is governed by its elected officers and by delegates to the union's biennial convention, which sets union policy. Elected leaders are President Randi Weingarten, Secretary-Treasurer Fedrick C. Ingram and Executive Vice President Evelyn DeJesus along with a 43-member executive council.
 
Many well-known Americans have been AFT members, including John Dewey, Albert Einstein, Hubert Humphrey, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt, Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, former Senate Majority Leader and Ambassador to Japan Mike Mansfield, former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, and former United Nations Undersecretary and Nobel Peace Prize winner Ralph Bunche.

Mr. Jerome McCoy is a special education teacher at Helen Cox High School and has been a teacher for twenty-one years. He is a proud member of JFT because he loves the protection teachers have as being part of a union. Mr. McCoy serves as the building representative for his school where he enjoys advocating for the rights of his colleagues.

 
Mr. McCoy has three children, one twenty-seven and twins aged nineteen. When he is not teaching or fulfilling his union duties, Jerome is active as a professional stage manager, actor, and event planner.

Stay Informed

Please encourage your colleagues to sign up to receive the latest news from JFT: www.jft.la.aft.org/take-action/sign-jft-updates

 

JFT Organizing Meeting

A big thank you to members who were able to attend the JFT organizing meeting and our Louisiana Federation of Teachers Legislative Director, for her attendance! It was a great opportunity for members to address concerns and resolutions on issues at the local and state levels. Many topics were addressed, but cluster meetings became a common topic in each break-out room. Please take a moment to complete this brief survey regarding cluster meetings.

Town Hall Meetings

Jefferson Federation of Teachers has requested that the district host townhall type meetings where employees can have open dialogue with the superintendent. We are happy to announce that they will host three for employees and three for the community. They will occur on alternating sides of the river.
 
These are informal, open forums without an agenda. You can ask questions, offer suggestions, share insight, or just listen. To register for the February 15th meeting, please click here. Given limited capacity, attendees should register in advance via this online survey.
 
The community townhall is scheduled for February 15th for 6-7:30 at Terrytown Elementary. Employees are also encouraged to attend. Please click here for a full schedule or visit: www.jpschools.org/townhalls.
 
JFT PSRP Committee
 
The JFT PSRP committee was in full swing, until COVID-19, placed everything on hold. We are happy to announce, that this committee is ready to reset, but we need you in 2022! This committee is open to any JFT PSRP member (paraeducators, school secretaries, general clerks, account clerks, custodians, cafeteria employees, crossing guards, etc.).
 
Please email lmarino@jft.org with the following information if you are interested in becoming a part of this very important committee:
  • Name
  • School
  • Position
  • Personal Email address
  • Phone Number