Teacher groups push Stelly Plan in Concordia

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 31, 2000

VIDALIA, La. – Two of Louisiana’s largest teacher organizations, including their Concordia Parish chapters, are encouraging members to vote for the Stelly Plan Nov. 7 — and to encourage their friends to do the same.

&uot;Brochures are going out to all our members,&uot; said D’Shay Rushing, president of the Concordia Association of Educators. &uot;We need this bill, which would go for teacher (and support worker) raises and could also go for other things, like new technology for the classroom.&uot;

&uot;We’re passing out brochures to our members, and we had meetings about it in September,&uot;&160;said Wilma McKeever, president of the Concordia Federation of Teachers and School Employees. &uot;And we’re telling (members) to ask others to get out and vote, too.&uot;

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The plan — named for its author, state Sen. Vic Stelly (R-Lake Charles) — is actually made up of two proposed constitutional amendments. Both of the measures would need with a simple majority of the public’s votes Nov. 7 for the plan to take effect Jan. 1.

The bills would swap some of Louisiana’s sales taxes for income taxes in order to generate $200 million a year for education, with 80 percent going to teacher and school support worker raises.

Not only are organizations encouraging their members to vote for the Stelly Plan, but the Louisiana Federation of Teachers has also printed 100,000 brochures to explain the plan to parents, said LFT spokesman Les Landon.

Landon said he and other LFT officials have held press conferences in Lake Charles, Alexandria, Monroe and Shreveport and will hold similar events in New Orleans and Baton Rouge later this week.

On Monday, the organization also began running radio commercials statewide in favor of the proposal.

&uot;Our local representatives have been sent packages of information on the plan already, and we’ve asked them to hold meetings, too,&uot;&160;Landon said.

&uot;The way the state finances its operations needs to be fixed, and these bills will create a growing and reliable stream of money for salaries,&uot; Landon said. &uot;That’s something educators have never had before.&uot;