A portion of the “racino” revenues that state Treasurer John Kennedy says “rightfully belongs” to the St. Landry Parish School System has been restored to the struggling district after Gov. Bobby Jindal unsuccessfully tried to funnel the money to the state’s Medical Assistance Trust Fund (read DHH).
According to a joint press release from Kennedy’s office and Democratic state Rep. Ledricka Thierry of Opelousas, $800,000 has been restored to the St. Landry Parish Excellence Fund, a state fund set up to support St. Landry Parish public education by dedicating 5 percent of taxes collected from the Evangeline Downs Racetrack and proceeds from the casino’s slot machines. According to The Daily World, the fund had somehow acquired a $1.8 million reserve, which Jindal tried to take from the local school district and move to state coffers.
Though Thierry is still working to recoup the rest of the money in the fund, the $800,000 is good news for a school board that, according to The Daily World, “would find itself $4 million in the red by July and with an $8 million deficit by December” without the cuts it has proposed to its roughly $100 million budget.
The school district’s finances are so dire that the system faced potential state takeover last week, but the state’s Fiscal Review Committee voted against the drastic move, according to the press release:
“This is not state money. This is money that rightfully belongs to St. Landry Parish,” says Kennedy. “We’re very happy to expedite this request and help ease some short-term budget pain to the St. Landry Parish school system.”
Treasurer Kennedy is a member of the state Fiscal Review Committee that voted last week to avoid a state takeover of the system. At the meeting, he was very critical of the Governor’s proposal in his Executive Budget to “sweep” the St. Landry School District’s “Racino” funds into the state budget.
“Our committee has reviewed the system’s finances, and while they most certainly have challenges to face in the short and long term, we are going to give the new board and new superintendent the time to execute a plan that works,” says Kennedy.
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JUL 27 The news gets worse in the case of the 11th hour bill that added a bunch of money to the retirement income of State Police Commander Mike Edmonson. Blogger CB Forgotston says here that the annual increase was not $30K, it was more like $55K. Also, it was Jindal buddy Neil Riser who tacked the action onto another bill - something he didn't feel compelled to tell us until now. But here's the best part - Edmonson turned down the money on Friday.
JUL 28 Finally, someone has pointed out that the far-right people who scream at immigrant children are not acting as Jesus would. Blogger Robert Mann runs a comparison of the actions of these alleged "Christians" against what the Bible says about their Savior -- and they come up lacking. Big time.
JUL 27 Here's the first of four pieces from Minnesota Public Radio about the horrible legacy of Gilbert Gauthe, the pedophile who also was a priest and used his position to obtain victims. The story gets into the most shameful aspect of that time - the protection Gauthe received from the leaders of the church. This four-piece story promises to be more comprehensive than anything we've seen, because it is looking back from so far. Some of the information here has only been released recently.
JUL 28 This story in the Picayune is a hopeful, happy one for a change. It's about a young woman who faced family problems that led to her dropping out of school. But now, just a few years later, she's completed two programs aimed at troubled kids and has landed a job in the kitchen of a John Besh restaurant.
JUL 27 Columnist James Gill has something for the Baton Rouge Metro Council -- and they could probably use it. He's giving them a piece of his mind in this post, taking them to task for being too (dumb, homophobic, gutless?) hesitant to pass the so-called tolerance ordinance, which basically says you can't discriminate against gay people in that fair city.
JUL 27 When you're telling people they have lost their jobs, you have to be careful about how you do it. When more layoffs were announced last week to the employees of the Office of Group Benefits, apparently that wasn't handled well, blogger Tom Aswell argues in this post. He's also got some info on who gets to stay - and how much they make. (Spoiler alert: It's a lot.)
JUL 28 After three years of revisions, the proposed new zoning ordinance for the city of New Orleans is ready for public review, this post on NOLA Defender reports. The plan is available starting today on the city's website and in several locations in the city, NoDef reports.
JUL 27 Here's an interesting infographic from LaPolitics on getting negative in political campaigning. There are several people who might want to take note - but chances are, they can't help themselves.
JUL 25 If you're not aware, there's a conflict among pro-choicers and pro-lifers going down in New Orleans. Anti-abortionists are protesting in the city this week, but those who support access to abortion have also been active in the city as a result. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow takes a look at what's going on in this clip, posted on Gambit.
JUL 25 Education Superintendent John White probably shouldn't sign a long lease on anything in Louisiana, Blogger Lamar Parmentel writes, because our reformer in chief is now in a situation "from which no amount of his own bs jargon or political hatchet work can extricate him." Lamar thinks that White is going to have to quit, and probably sooner rather than later.
JUL 25 This post on the Wall Street Journal examines the case of a Metairie physician who is making millions by filing whistle-blower lawsuits. His suits accuse corporations of defrauding federal agencies like Medicare, and when he wins he gets whistle-blower rewards - in the tens of millions of dollars. (You can view the story using your Facebook account, but if you don't want to do that, here's an abbreviated version in the Advocate.)
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