"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."
State Rep. Joel Robideaux, R-Lafayette, surprised few in the Hub City Wednesday afternoon when he made (semi) official what most of us have known for months: He is running to replace Joey Durel as city-parish president.
Louisiana's first black Republican state senator since Reconstruction — who was a Republican before he was a Democrat before he was a Republican again — is accusing Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu of using the black community for votes and providing nothing in return.
LSU's governing board has backed new hospital privatization contracts that give hospital managers greater ease to leave the deal and fewer restrictions about must-have services.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is courting young voters in several appearances across Louisiana this week, talking about her support for legislation that could lower students' college costs.
Coton de tulear joins Westminster; Paypal splitting from Ebay; first US Ebola diagnosis and more national and international news for Wednesday, October 1, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Stage 4 vet takes on cancer and reminds us all what it really means to get involved.
Is Mary fading as Vitter solidifies his lock on the fourth floor?
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration has renegotiated contracts for six LSU hospital privatization deals, hoping to reach a compromise with federal health officials that will keep Medicaid dollars flowing to the privatized patient services.
Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is defending her record on gun rights, seeking to rebut sharp criticism from the NRA in a state where the right to bear arms is given special constitutional protection.
Citizens, you have less than a week to register to vote in the Nov. 4 election. Remember, if you don’t vote you can’t complain about the outcome. Well, you can but it’s kind of hypocritical.
After being forced out by its former landlords last year, the community garden has a new location and a 10-year lease.
The party says it has hit a milestone, reaching 10,000 registered voters in the state.
Defensive captain Junior Galette is disgusted by the Saints' sluggish start.
The use of $60 million in Louisiana's public school financing formula to pay for nearly three dozen charter schools violates the state constitution, a statewide teachers' union claimed Monday in a lawsuit.
February trial date indicates parties were unable to negotiate a settlement.
There was a time when United Ballot had a political stranglehold so tight on Lafayette’s black community it was nearly unbreakable, but that grip might be loosening.
The race for Lafayette city marshal may not be the most exciting of this year’s local political contests, but it could prove the most historic.
With the DA’s race too close to call and negative media coverage of Mike Harson on the ebb, will challenger Keith Stutes take the gloves off?
Gov. Bobby Jindal has been viewed as a health care policy wonk, and he's tried to build on that image ahead of a likely 2016 presidential campaign, positioning himself as the candidate with substantive ideas.
Jerry Jones watched what he called the best effort he's seen in 25 years as owner of the Dallas Cowboys in the first half, and that was before Tony Romo had the longest scramble of his career and DeMarco Murray finished off yet another 100-yard game.
Two of the most recognizable women in Republican politics, Sarah Palin and Mary Matalin, have been heavily involved in Louisiana’s current election cycle.
Even though the Louisiana Democratic Party has thrown its support behind former Gov. Edwin Edwards’ congressional bid, national Democrats are not expected to follow suit.
“[Mike] is no longer the energetic ADA that his recent ad is trying to portray. I just think Mike needs to get the hell out.” — Kermit Harson, DA Mike Harson’s brother
The New Orleans Saints have listed Jonathan Goodwin as questionable for Sunday night's game in Dallas, raising the prospect that second-year pro Tim Lelito will start at center for the first time.