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Teacher Raises Proposed in Louisiana

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Gov. Edwin W. Edwards of Louisiana has proposed a $5,000 pay raise for the state's 45,000 teachers and administrators that would require lawmakers to raise taxes during an election year.

The Governor would partially finance the pay raise, to be phased in over three years, by repealing $170 million in sales-tax exemptions on food, drugs, gasoline, and utilities.

Under a plan presented to the legislature this month, educators would receive a $1,000 raise in September and $2,000 increases in the 1988-89 and 1989-90 school years.

The plan would provide some educators with additional, modest increases by changing the state's salary index and by providing added pay for teachers with more than 12 years' experience.

Representative Jimmy Long, who is sponsoring the bill in the House, estimated that Mr. Edwards's plan would cost $70 million in the first year, and slightly more than $200-million by the time all of the salary increases were in place.

He predicted, however, that it would be "extremely difficult'' to pass the measure this year, given the upcoming elections, the state's financial problems, and its high unemployment rate.

Under the proposal, the pay raise would not take effect unless the legislature also approved a statewide evaluation program for teachers, details of which have yet to be developed.

According to Representative Long, the proposal would not tie an individual teacher's salary to his or her performance on the evaluation. "What it does is put into effect a uniform method by which teachers will be evaluated, and then provide for corrections of any deficiencies,'' he said.--L.O.

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