"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."
A federal jury found attorney Daniel Stanford guilty Friday afternoon on eight of 13 counts for his role in the Curious Goods conspiracy.
Lafayette City-Court Judge Francie Bouillion has served on the bench for two decades since winning a special election to replace Judge Kaliste Saloom when he retired in 1994.
The magazine's senior football writer also predicts a break-out year for Saints fourth-year running back Mark Ingram.
Gulf Coast ceremonies marking the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina have begun.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says there is little known about the effects of tiger prawns on indigenous Louisiana shrimp. But, officials say the reports they're seeking will help state biologists monitor the distribution of the prawns and determine the possible presence of spawning populations.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh rested his regulars and watched with delight as Ray Rice's backups ground out 214 yards rushing in a 22-13 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Google vs. Amazon in drone race; more deaths in Syria; Russia escalates Ukraine conflict and more national and international news for Friday, August 29, 2014.
High-profile criminal defense attorney Daniel Stanford awaits his fate in the Curious Goods conspiracy trial.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is set to put the kibosh on the legal ownership of monkeys trained to help the disabled, and the agency wants to know what you think.
A federal judge on Thursday asked lawyers battling over Louisiana's new, restrictive abortion law for an agreement that apparently could let clinics stay open — at least for a while — after the law takes effect Sept. 1.
An abortion rights organization wants a federal judge to block enforcement of Louisiana's new abortion law while its lawsuit to overturn the law makes its way through court.
Republican presidential prospects Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal are planning to speak at an Iowa Christian conservative event in September.
The attention surrounding Victor White III has spiked with the release of last week’s autopsy report, which has raised a number of serious questions about the night of his death and has put the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office under an increased wave of scrutiny as more national media outlets are jumping on the story, most recently seen on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show.
A group supporting taxpayer-funded private school tuition vouchers is appealing a federal judge's order that Louisiana must provide regular reports to federal officials on the state's voucher program.
The Discovery Channel has canceled reality TV star Will Hayden's popular "Sons of Guns" show after his arrest on an aggravated rape charge.
The LPSB will finally hear from the attorney it hired to investigate the superintendent at a special meeting Thursday at 4 p.m.
Authorities are investigating a report that a student there warned the principal of impending violence similar to that depicted in the movie "The Purge."
Saints cornerback Champ Bailey has played for more than a handful of playoff teams during a career that has seen him selected to 12 Pro Bowls.
Police say a 56-year-old Lafayette man walking behind a dump truck died when the truck hit him as it was backing up.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is a proud papa of new baby girl.
The books on Louisiana's last budget year have been closed, but it took a bit of borrowing from this year to make the numbers work.
The Iberia Parish Coroner responded Monday to the attention surrounding the questionable shooting of Victor White III, a black man from New Iberia who died April 2 while in the custody of local law enforcement.
Two months after lawmakers agreed to create a $40 million higher education incentive fund, no decisions have been made about how to divide the money.
With Drew Brees back healthy, the New Orleans Saints are free to work on the little things that can make the difference between a Super Bowl run and something less.