The state’s two teacher unions and the Louisiana School Boards Association are asking teachers and students across the state to wear black to school or work on Monday, the opening day of the Louisiana Legislature’s spring session. The somber attire is meant to protest Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposed state budget cuts to education. In light of a projected revenue shortfall of nearly $2 billion, Jindal’s budget includes $219 million in cuts to higher education and almost $200 million in cuts to elementary and secondary schools.
Sponsors of ‘Black Monday’ are appealing to legislators to fully fund education, possibly by dipping into the state’s $400 million economic development megafund. “At stake is the future of Louisiana’s children, and of the administration’s own economic development plan,” says Louisiana School Boards Association Executive Director Nolton Senegal. “One has to question priorities when a $400 million megafund that may, or may not, be used during the fiscal year holds higher priority than training the workforce that will be used to lure business.”