Equity has never been a built-in component of consolidation when it comes to the cost of government in Lafayette Parish, and if City-Parish President Joey Durel is right, the “parish” part of consolidated government has sponged off the city of Lafayette to the tune of roughly $32 million since the parish and city governments merged in 1996. But in his budget address to the council last week, Durel indicated that the days of the city shouldering the burden for the parish should come to an end. Everyone in Lafayette Parish — in the unincorporated areas as well as the municipalities including Lafayette — is a parish resident and pays parish property taxes to fund the sheriff, jail, parish courthouse and infrastructure in rural Lafayette Parish. Currently the ratio for shouldering those costs is 84 percent (city) to 16 percent (parish). Durel wants the cost of services provided to unincorporated Lafayette Parish to reflect the parish’s population distribution: city residents would pay 54 percent of the cost; non city of Lafayette residents would pay 46 percent. This is an idea that’s long overdue — like 16 years overdue. Bravo, Joey!
Three low-performing Lafayette schools have joined the list of 180 schools across the state labeled academically unacceptable by the state Department of Education. Not unexpectedly, J.W. Faulk Elementary, Northside High and Alice Boucher Elementary schools received 2012 school performance scores of 65.1, 74.4 and 69.5, respectively. J.W. Faulk’s score is down two points over last year, while Alice Boucher increased its score by a little more than two points. Northside has shown the most improvement of the three, raising its score more than six points over last year, but still falls six-tenths of a point below the new state benchmark SPS of 75. Schools that fall below 75 are given a letter grade of F and placed on the list of academically unacceptable schools. The three schools managed to avoid failing status last year by edging above the 2011 SPS benchmark of 65, but the new minimum standards for 2012 had LPSS officials predicting a year ago that these same schools would be labeled as academically unacceptable by the 2012 school year. If the schools fail to make it off of the academically unacceptable list within four years, they could face takeover by the state, though Cooper’s six-year district turnaround plan includes several new strategies aimed at lowering the achievement gap that exists within north Lafayette schools.
Kudos to The Monroe News-Star’s Barbara Leader for pointing out that maybe, just maybe, the emperor is butt nekid. The paper reported that scheduled conference calls between Board of Elementary and Secondary Education members, the Department of Education and Superintendent John White to discuss key agenda items before public BESE meetings appear to violate the state’s open meetings law. In an effort to avoid a quorum, at least two conference calls were scheduled to address single matters before the board. In good-government parlance it’s called a “walking quorum” because such meetings of a public body are required by law to be at a fixed location, advertised ahead of time and open to the public. Conference calls meet none of those criteria. While BESE’s lawyer says the calls do not run afoul of Louisiana law, two BESE members — Carolyn Hill and Lottie Beebe — declined to participate in recent calls due to concerns they might be illegal. And member Connie Bradford, who did participate, referred to them as “meetings.”
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Fort Worth company's new facility at Lafayette Regional Airport will build helicopters primarily for the export market.
Could River Ranch restaurant be the next star?
Move over Hooters — there’s a new breastaurant coming to town.
Hashtag, retweet, like, share and do whatever else it takes to get in good today with the jolly man in red.
That would be Congressman John Fleming talking about Sen. David Vitter.
The alleged mastermind behind the bribery scheme that went on for four years under DA Mike Harson’s nose isn’t just schizophrenic, bipolar and recovering from mini strokes; he now says he has cancer.
Louisiana's higher education leaders are trying to work out a financing deal to keep the state's public colleges from running low on state cash to operate their campuses.
With their latest triumph, the Saints left little doubt about how tough they are to beat in the Superdome. Unfortunately, two of their remaining three games are on the road.
The festival is scheduled for March 21-22 in New Orleans.
NOLA Bowl ready prints
For the first time in at least five years, retired teachers, state workers and school system employees could see an increase in their pension checks.
Lawmakers and Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration shared a collective sigh of relief with the news that Louisiana's tax amnesty program brought in the $200 million that they used to help balance this year's budget.
Drew Brees often makes the extraordinary look routine, particularly during night games in the Superdome.
The Cane Fire Film Series will be screening The Savoy King, a feature documentary on Swing-era drummer-bandleader Chick Webb, Ella Fitzgerald, and Harlems Savoy Ballroom.
The teams were extended invitations Sunday for the New Year's Day matchup played at Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Outfit Of The Game looks at jewelry.
Holiday party with style
Funds will expand Early College Academy from 250 to 1,000 students
Let ’em know and you could win a $250 night out.