SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/ KMSS) – Teachers are heading back to the classroom, but according to the Department of Education, Louisiana ranks below the National average for teacher compensation.

A one-time $2,000 stipend for teachers and $1,000 for other faculty and staff was approved during the 2023 Louisiana Legislative Session.

A former educator and president of the Louisiana Retired Teachers Association (LRTA) advocates for current educators and believes this stipend is not enough.

”Education should be high up on the priority list, and that’s not happening in Louisiana,” said Emma Shepard, President of the Louisiana Retired Teachers Association District 11.

Shepard taught students for Caddo Parish Public Schools in Shreveport for 26 years before retiring. Shepard says state leaders do not prioritize the importance of teacher compensation.  

”Right now, it’s a thankless job, most people are doing it because they love teaching and love children,” said Shepard.

Shepard says although teachers are grateful, educators deserve more. She believes an adjustment increase to compensation would help in the long term rather than a one-and-done. 

”Knowing teachers they likely will spend that you know in just the first few weeks of school,” explained Shepard.

Shepard says another tax break approved during the 2023 legislative session is not sitting well with her.
”I saw where the legislature they provided Tax-free weekend for gun sales, but they did not do that for schools, and that just made me sad, we’ve got to do Better,”

According to the Bossier Parish School District, school districts have received guidance on the one-time payment, and the allocation of funds is expected later this month.