Youngsville Mayor Wilson Viator is giving the Lafayette Parish School System an ultimatum: Commit to building new schools in Youngsville by the end of the summer, or else ...
“I’m not threatening anybody, but I feel if I don’t do something about the schools, then I’m not doing my job,” Viator said Thursday during a phone interview with The Advertiser. “Pulling out the school system is a last-resort alternative, but if the school system doesn’t get off their can and start building some schools in Youngsville, then I’m going to pursue that.”
Viator told both dailies Thursday that overcrowding in Youngsville’s three schools is a critical issue that needs immediate attention, an assertion LPSS Superintendent Pat Cooper does not contest. According to The Advocate, more than half of the classrooms for the 900 students at Green T. Lindon Elementary School are housed in portable buildings, while Ernest Gallet Elementary teaches almost 1,200 students in a school built for 750.
But if Viator’s threat to breakaway from the Lafayette Parish School System was sincerely a “last-resort” for much-needed new schools, then why did he first float the idea several weeks ago at the Youngsville Chamber of Commerce banquet instead of addressing the problem directly with Cooper and the Lafayette Parish School Board?
Youngsville has established itself as a flourishing white-flight destination in Lafayette Parish, and the timing of Viator’s remarks comes amid heated debate in the state Legislature over breakaway school districts in East Baton Rouge Parish, where predominately white communities like Central have successfully seceded from the East Baton Rouge Parish School System in recent years. Coincidence?
Cooper has committed to finding a fix for the overcrowding problem, according to the dailies, which may include using some of the $30 million in bonds that was slated for Thibodaux Tech High School. And if Youngsville were to move forward with plans to break away from LPSS, it would take a two-thirds vote of the Legislature next year and voter approval of a Constitutional Amendment.
As Red Stick Forward writer Slater McKay notes in a column published on The Political Desk website, “if the Legislature accelerates these breakaway districts to the point of having an overabundance of local school districts that are surprisingly homogenous by choice, there’s a good chance the federal government will step in to remind us (once again) of the difference between Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown vs. the Topeka Board of Education.”
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DEC 8 - Maybe that wasn't such a good idea, after all. This post on the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association's site says we're looking at oil prices that are tanking because there's so much oil coming out of the Gulf. Some are even predicting a glut. What's likely to be the result? Lower gas prices, higher refinery profits, and more pressure on the feds to loosen export restrictions.
DEC 8 Here's the latest from blogger Robert Mann, and it's on one of his favorite topics: Bobby Jindal. He's taking a look at Jindal's record and his current maneuvering, which of course is a ploy to position him for a run for the White House. "America Next," Jindal's current big idea, is just as vague about what it is proposing as Jindal usually is, Mann says. And it won't protect him from his "unimaginative record," as Mann describes it.
DEC 8 - Don't know what that is? Then run on over to LaPolitics and read this post by Jeremy Alford, which serves as a history lesson about the famed tonic and it's purveyor, Dudley LeBlanc. It's really a fascinating story and Alford's description of Dudley as an "icon of Louisiana politics and culture" is not an exaggeration.
DEC 8 In this editorial, the Picayune again urges Gov. Jindal to take the Medicaid money. But the piece's exhortation that Jindal "be sensible" is a little misplaced, isn't it? Because Jindal's not being stupid -- well, maybe he is -- but he's following orders from people he believes can get him into the White House. This editorial is engaging in the argument that Jindal is publicly making, without acknowledging what his true motivations are. Somebody send these guys a clue.
DEC 8 Columnist Mark Ballard is writing about the impact of Vance McAllister's defeat of Neil Riser in this post. He starts out talking about how McAllister's more reasonable approach was more attractive to voters than was Riser's hard-line (tea-party-ish) rants. Dan Claitor, a state lege from BR who is expected to run for Congress soon, expressed it best when he said voters aren't looking for candidates who are "throwing temper tantrums when they can't get their way."
DEC 8 It's always gratifying when a Louisiana son makes international headlines. And our son, David "former KKK grand poobah" Duke is back in the news, making us all proud. This (UK) Telegraph story, unearthed by the Dead Pelican, tells us that Duke has been expelled from Italy but is trying to return. The Italians say he is trying to "establish a pan-European, extremist neo-Nazi group in northern Italy." Huh. You don't say.
DEC 9 This is a kind of puzzling post from columnist Jim Beam, in which he discusses a recent appearance by former Gov. Edwin Edwards in Lake Charles. He said he's surprised by EWE's "grasp of current events." Did Jim never meet Slick Eddie? He's no dummy, and for Beam to assume he is -- well, given he covered the man for 50 years, that's the surprise.
DEC 9 A "suspicious package" shut down part of Zachary Sunday, WAFB tells us in this post. The package, which eventually was "rendered safe" (bomb squad lingo for blown up) was found in a storage unit that someone quit paying on. Other cop gear was found in the unit, so it is possible the thing was a training tool, police say. But they leave out the best part: who bought it? Barry, Jarrod or Darrell?
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