Local sickout sickens voter

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 17, 2001

DEAR EDITOR: For years our school teachers across Louisiana and the country have been underpaid. I totally agree that their pay is not commensurate with their value to their profession. After repeated failed attempts by St. John Parish and school board officials to increase revenues at the parish level to give our parish teachers a raise, it finally happened last fall. They will be getting a much deserved $2,000 raise in a few months, I understand. The promised state increase, however, is again quagmired in state politics as usual. I was very disappointed to read in the newspaper this week that our St. John Parish teachers have staged a “sickout” for Monday, forcing the superintendent to close all schools in the parish. What a shame for our children, and I hate to say, irreprable damage to the reputation of our teachers, particularly since we voted them a tax and salary increase just last fall. Was this really necessary since the governor is to call a special session of the Legislature in March to pass a tax meaure to give all state teachers a raise from the state level? You’ve waited this long; couldn’t you have wait another two months to see what the Legislature will do? Just as I was beginning to have a little hope that our St. John Parish school system might be starting to turn the corner. I can assure you it will be a cold day in July before I am willing to support another tax increase for our parish teachers if they can’t act more like professionals instead of politicians. Shame, shame!

Alton Landry Jr.