Teachers plead for pay raises

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 5, 2000

ERIK SANZENBACH / L’Observateur / May 5, 2000

BATON ROUGE – About 5,000 public school teachers from around Louisiana gathered at the Capitol steps Wednesday to demand that Gov. Foster andthe Legislature give them a much-promised and much-needed raise.

Despite a strong showing by most of the parishes in the state, teachers from St. John and St. James parishes were not present at the protest. St.Charles Parish sent a contingency of teachers made up of two representatives from every school in the parish.

St. John Parish school board spokes person, Ann LaBorde said, “The teachershere opted to stay in the classroom, and it was very much appreciated.” Shecontinued, “Even though the pay raise is an important isuue, the teachers stayed with the students.” Some St. John Parish teachers were at the Capitol, not as protestors but aschaperons and guides for 150 students who were visiting Baton Rouge as part of “St. John Parish Day ” at the Capitol.”It is hard being in here,” said Garyville/Mt.Airy Magnet School teacher DonnaRoehl, “but it wasn’t an option. It is nice to see all those teachers out there,though.” Roehl added, “However, I enjoy being with the students.”An English teacher at West St. John High School, Cassandra Ratcliff didn’treally miss the rally. “I prefer to be in here with the students,” she said.Melissa Faucheux, who is not only a teacher but a member of the St. JohnParish Council, said, “I’m here as a chaperon today.” However, she added, “Ithink there needs to be accountability to go along with the raises. I think thatGov. Foster will do what he says he is going to do.”State Rep. Bobby Faucheux was lecturing the students on the ins and outs ofstate government while teachers marched and protested outside.

“We are working on a pay raise,” said Faucheux, “but the first thing is to get the budget under control before we can raise any revenue. “Faucheux said he and several other legislators have several plans on how to raise the capital needed for the teachers’ pay raise. He said the Legislaturewould probably enact something in the special session that Foster will call in September.

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