Preschool access won't expand with the money. The dollars will plug part of a budget hole created when federal stimulus funding that had been used for the program disappeared.
The state pays the costs for 16,000 4-year-olds to enroll in the pre-K program, according to Barry Landry, spokesman for the state education department. The hurricane recovery money would pay for at-risk students from 20 parishes that were damaged by Gustav and Ike, according to the proposal, which will be submitted to HUD in October.
Rep. Simone Champagne, R-Jeanerette, tells AP she has nothing against the LA4 program, but describes the governor's push as a misuse of those funds. Champagne says the Department of Education should go back to the drawing board and figure out another way for filling the gaps in the LA4 program's budget.
Champagne says many of the residents in her district whose homes flooded during Ike and Gustav, as well as Hurricane Rita in 2005, still await funding to elevate their homes — delays that are largely the result of the beauracratic hoops and barrels people have had to jump through when applying for the relief money.
The funds in question, though, were distributed by HUD, while the Home Elevation Program is a FEMA-funded initiative, Michael DiResto, spokesman for the governor's division of administration, tells the IND Monthly.
Yet, Champagne tells the IND Monthly that those funds could have been used for the home elevation project, but only by approval of the state Legislature, which denied her request during this year's session.
"I really believe if we don't start using the money properly, we'll continue to have people unprotected from storms," says Champagne. "There are still unmet needs in the hurricane-related parishes. We still have hundreds of people, homeowners, that need to elevate their homes."
Paul Rainwater, commissioner of administration and Jindal's top budget advisor, defended the reallocation of the money, telling AP it will still benefit people affected by the 2008 hurricanes.
According to Rainwater, the LA4 program, like the home elevation program, aids people impacted by Ike and Gustav by providing free child care to parents out-of-work as a result of the 2008 hurricanes.
Rainwater argues that without the LA4 program, thousands of parents living in areas impacted by the hurricanes would be forced to either take on the costs of childcare themselves, or be forced to quit their jobs, thus hurting the state's workforce.
Rainwater's statement makes sense. But so does Champagnes' argument for the need to elevate homes in those affected areas.
Read the full AP article here.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, December 13, 2013:
The Louisiana Supreme Court has punted on its first chance to decide whether a new state constitutional provision declaring gun possession a fundamental right could void a long list of criminal statutes that regulate firearms.
New Orleans' offense, which ranks sixth in the NFL, isn't helping many of its skill players pile up Pro Bowl-type stats. Rather, the approach of coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees has enabled a wide range of play-makers to emerge periodically with high-production outings.
An ordinance phasing out a rebate businesses receive for collecting and remitting sales taxes is tabled, but it doesn’t solve the vexing issue of government revenue.
As part of a national undertaking known by industry insiders as the “Butterfly Project,” a rebranded version of The Daily Advertiser is set to launch with Sunday’s edition of the Gannett-owned paper.
Louisiana moved up a slot to 48th in the ranking of healthy states — once again, thank God for Mississippi! — so all this frettin’ about Gov. Bobby Jindal’s refusal to expand Medicaid per Obamacare ... fuggidaboutit! We don’t need Medicaid no more!
The Denham Springs woman who placed Christmas lights in the shape of a butter finger on her roof in a display of anger directed at neighbors has doubled the trouble for the 2013 holiday season.
The 30-second commercial, to run around the state, is the Democratic senator's first TV spot in her bid for re-election to a fourth term.
It's a number that has edged up but falls far short of the thousands who are eligible for subsidized coverage.
A group of mostly higher education leaders will make recommendations to state lawmakers about how to tweak the policies governing tuition rates charged at the state's public colleges.
That would be Congressman John Fleming talking about Sen. David Vitter.
The alleged mastermind behind the bribery scheme that went on for four years under DA Mike Harson’s nose isn’t just schizophrenic, bipolar and recovering from mini strokes; he now says he has cancer.
Louisiana's higher education leaders are trying to work out a financing deal to keep the state's public colleges from running low on state cash to operate their campuses.
With their latest triumph, the Saints left little doubt about how tough they are to beat in the Superdome. Unfortunately, two of their remaining three games are on the road.
For the first time in at least five years, retired teachers, state workers and school system employees could see an increase in their pension checks.
Lawmakers and Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration shared a collective sigh of relief with the news that Louisiana's tax amnesty program brought in the $200 million that they used to help balance this year's budget.
Drew Brees often makes the extraordinary look routine, particularly during night games in the Superdome.
The teams were extended invitations Sunday for the New Year's Day matchup played at Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
If all 44 projects are approved, about $300 million would remain in the fund set up as a down payment to help the Gulf.
Last week, the Saints gave up 429 yards to Seattle, second most in a game this season.
Since Anthony Jennings and Brooks Haack were not expected to contribute until next year at the earliest, it seemed like a sneak peek at hidden Christmas gifts.
Louisiana National Guard personnel seeking benefits for same-sex spouses will have an easier time filing the requests, despite a state refusal to let its workers process the paperwork.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera sees one potential flaw with his team's stellar defensive play so far this season. "Apparently we like to bite on the double moves," Rivera said.
Computer hackers may have gained access to the personal information of thousands of Louisiana residents who use debit cards issued by JPMorgan Chase for three state agencies, authorities said Wednesday.
Jim Purcell, who has been in the job since February 2011, notified the Board of Regents about his decision at its monthly meeting.