A state-wide campaign kicking off for higher teacher pay

MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Teachers are getting passionate inside and outside the classroom as the state legislative regular session inches closer. That's when lawmakers will vote on the governor's proposed $1,000 pay hike for teachers and an extra $500 for other staff.

Sandy Lollie with the Monroe Federation of Teachers and Louisiana Public School Coalition said even with this on the table, a fight to get more continues.

"It's a good faith effort. Is it enough? No. Is it a step in the right in the right direction? Eh. Can we use it? Most definitely," Lollie said.

Monday, a new group called 'Raise Up Teachers' launched a state-wide campaign to make teachers' voices heard.

"I'm sure we all agree that frankly isn't enough. And quite disrespectful in my opinion just because these are the hardest-working individuals in our state. The most valued," Joni Smith, with the group, said.

Members said it's a movement by teachers, for teachers with 500 people joining their efforts.

"This is about teachers raising their voice without the need of being tied to an organization that may or may not represent what you want them to represent," Smith said.

They said the goal is to make sure teachers get the salaries, development and resources they deserve. So, they're asking for thoughts and opinions on their website to take to lawmakers.

Lollie said the union is teaming up with another state-wide coalition to get the word out during a town hall meeting.

That meeting is at 5 p.m. At Carroll High School March 21st.

Representative Katrina Jackson and Senator Mike Walworth said the state can't afford it but will help move money around to make it happen.

According to the Department of Education's website, Ouachita tops the list paying an average of $50,357; Richland Parish $50,062; Lincoln Parish $48,793; East Carroll $48, 498; Jackson Parish $48,000.

The national average is just over $58,000.