"All week, we have been emailing [legislators], and we have been calling on the house floor," says Melinda Mangham, president of the Lafayette Parish Association of Educators. "We have one of the strongest school districts in the state, and yet our delegation will not support the [proposed] teacher pay raise. I'm very frustrated with this delegation."
Of the five representatives whose districts cross into Lafayette Parish, Mangham says only Rep. Gill Pinac, who largely serves Acadia Parish, and north Lafayette Rep. Wilfred Pierre have indicated they may support the new smoking tax. Reps. Joel Robideaux, Don Trahan, and Ernie Alexander say they are against funding a raise through any new taxes. Alexander has also mentioned the Lafayette Parish School System's history of hiring more teachers instead of paying current teachers more as a reason for his opposition. Alexander and Trahan are both former Lafayette Parish public high school teachers.
The governor's proposal would raise the state tax on a pack of cigarettes from 36 cents to $1.36. The tax is expected to raise teacher pay by $3,300 over the next two years, along with a $500 raise for support workers and teacher aides and a five percent pay raise for college professors.
Mangham, who is also an English teacher at Lafayette High and serves as the legislative chair for the state teachers' association, says the issue should be one of education over taxes. A 2003 study by the National Education Association ranked teacher pay in Louisiana 47th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
"We scream and holler any time we have a new tax," Mangham says. "We cannot attract and retain young people in this profession. This is not about me. I'm getting ready to retire. We have got to be able to get some young, bright teachers in the classroom."
The Lafayette superintendent insists the budget is illegal and vows to fight on.
"I am not a scientist," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has said numerous times, a response that other members of his party have parroted.
Republicans are running strong races against endangered Democratic incumbents in states such as North Carolina, Colorado, Arkansas, Louisiana and Alaska. Republicans are also looking to replace retiring Democrats in Iowa and West Virginia with a GOP lawmaker.
Republican congressman Vance McAllister is trying to make up to Louisiana voters for getting too close to a married former employee.
You may not like all of “it,” but U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, unlike many of her colleagues, isn't sitting around twiddling her thumbs in Congress.
Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro says he "can't wait" to play against Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The heat keeps rising for Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal as a new slate of corruption allegations surfaced this week.
If opposing defenses sell out to stop the Packers' passing game, they risk being gashed by powerful running back Eddie Lacy, a New Orleans-area native.
At the horn the officiating crew trotted to the tunnel and left security personnel to clean up after them.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Sign "ninjas" cleaning up clutter; NYC doctor positive for Ebola; Ferguson grand jury decision nears; and more national and international news for Friday, October 24, 2014.
We can safely assume incumbent Chief K.P. Gibson isn’t too worried about this challenger.
Nationally, Republicans must gain six seats to win Senate control. The most competitive races, many in states where Obama lost in 2012, remain too close to call.
The Baton Rouge Republican has repeatedly battled a perception within his own party that he perhaps wasn't the best choice to carry the GOP banner.
Even if Jimmy Graham's production dips while the star tight end recovers from a shoulder injury, it looks like Drew Brees won't have much trouble finding other targets.
A former campaign manager for Senate candidate Rob Maness is striking at the Republican contender's tea party support, saying Maness only sought to appeal to conservative organizations because he needed money for his campaign.
Ninety-two percent of public school teachers were rated either effective or highly effective in a report the state issued marking the second year of a new statewide evaluation process.
School board members Mark Babineaux, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion can vote to fire Cooper — because we all know that’s exactly what they’ll do.
District 2 school board candidate Simon Mahan is hoping to unseat first-term incumbent and former Carencro Mayor Tommy Angelle in the Nov. 4 election.
District Attorney Mike Harson is showing his desperation by falsely attributing quotes to his opponent and blocking journalists from his social media.
The governor is traveling the country laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, but his approval ratings at home hover well below 50 percent.
State District Judge Bob Downing extended the order and delayed a planned Wednesday hearing about a permanent injunction while negotiations continue between Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the waste disposal site operator.
New Louisiana higher education commissioner Joseph Rallo will be paid more than his predecessor.
Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris each had four rushing touchdowns, and Louisiana-Lafayette rolled to 419 yards on the ground in a 55-40 victory over Arkansas State on Tuesday night.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are the validators-in-chief for Democrats struggling through a bleak campaign season in states where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular.