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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SEP 30 Here's another story that makes Louisiana look backward; blogger Manny Schewitz writes about a church that won't allow AA to use its facilities because those boozers might track in some gay. Every time he sees one of these, as he calls them "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" type of stories, he always starts wishing: "Please don't let it be Louisiana... Please don't let it be Louisiana..."
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SEP 30 Ever wonder what goes on in a football locker room following a game like Sunday's embarrassment? Here's a post on ESPN about the "reality check" the Saints had. Among the comments: "Right now we're not a very good football team."
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SEP 30 Anybody who has attended LSU since the late 1980s is pretty familiar with Highland Coffees. It's a cool little (non-chain) coffee shop near the north gates of the university. The recent announcement that it would be moving because the shop can't "come to terms" with its landlord has caused horror and anguish among LSU students and alums. This post on the Red Shtick pokes fun at the landlord who might have other plans for the spot. (The story includes links to a "real" post on Baton Rouge Business Report).
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SEP 30 It's a good thing we got all that BP money to spend on tourism advertising, because plenty will be required to convince people that we aren't a bunch of gun-toting lunatics down here in the swamp. This post on TIME magazine can't help: it's about a Port Allen restaurateur who offers a discount to anybody with a gun. (Anybody? Hmmm.)
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SEP 29 Here's another national media story on Edwin W. Edwards, this one from National Public Radio - despite the fact that, he says, "people who listen to public radio don't vote for candidates like me." His story, with the young lovely wife, new baby, political backstory and criminal history, seems to be irresistible to the media, especially after they've met him and experienced the full force of the Edwards charm.
SEP 29 Here's more speculation on what's next in the Bruce Greenstein situation from the fourth estate. James Gill calls it "the Greenstein problem." What's the problem? If Greenstein lied about the process of awarding a huge contract to his former employer during an investigation, as is alleged in his indictiment, what's the truth? And who else was involved?
SEP 29 To be fair, this story was posted on Business Insider before Sunday's game (and the wailing and gnashing of teeth that followed it). It's about a study that looked at the communities in which NFL teams are based, and what kind of support those teams have there. No team has stronger community support than the Saints, the study found. (But again, that was before Sunday.)
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