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.”
Louisiana's 21 casinos took in $203.5 million statewide in June, edging up one-half of a percentage point from a year earlier.
Three bedroom Sunset Victorian or three bedroom Opelousas Acadian home
Louisiana designer commissioned for NYC Awards gift
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is considering whether to get involved in a lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal for his attempts to undermine use of the Common Core education standards in Louisiana's public schools.
Business First Bank has announced plans for a Baton Rouge market expansion through a merger deal with American Gateway Financial Corp.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The latest meeting of a south Louisiana flood board that stirred political turmoil with a lawsuit against the oil and gas industry is taking place amid uncertainty over the future of the lawsuit — and the board's own membership.
The photos taken nearly a mile under the Gulf of Mexico are so clear that small holes are visible in a lifeboat that may have gone down or been scuttled when a passenger ship was sunk by a Nazi submarine in 1942.
Advocate columnist and Jindal shill Quin Hillyer has been against the New Orleans levee board lawsuit from day one, but a recent piece targeting author/activist John Barry prompted the perfect rebuttal from the board’s former vice-president, who takes Hillyer to task on just about every distorted claim he’s made on the issue.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
INDEats and EatLafayette want to give one lucky foodie and friends the most memorable meal — here’s how you can win
Pat Bowlen steps down; typhoon caused Taiwan plane crash; Arizona execution botched and more national and international news for Thursday, July 24, 2014.
Thousands of people who bought health insurance through the marketplace created by the federal health care overhaul face price hikes next year that could top 10 percent.
Three bedroom traditional Lafayette home or three bedroom Breaux Bridge home
Style market slated for old Artesia
The city prosecutor has released the case file for Lafayette Parish School Board member Tehmi Chassion’s simple battery complaint against Superintendent Pat Cooper, and the seven witness statements given to police illustrate two very different scenarios.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Louisiana fell one spot in an annual national ranking of child well-being that looks at poverty, education and health access.
A federal judge has decided he doesn't need to hear more arguments in the case of a gay couple who want a Louisiana marriage license.
Saints again bring playoff aspirations into 2014 campaign.
New details in the case against the man arrested for last week’s bomb threat and bank robbery has surfaced, including a MidSouth Bank surveillance video showing the alleged suspect attempt an early-morning bank robbery.
Citing conflicting witness accounts, the city prosecutor will not pursue Tehmi Chassion’s allegation of simple battery against Superintendent Pat Cooper.
Smoked meat, fresh sides and the best boudin around
Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers opens on Johnston.
Cirque du Soleil effortlessly combines circus art with beloved Michael Jackson hits.
Kelly Guidry Open House
Parents and teachers who support the Common Core education standards sued Gov. Bobby Jindal Tuesday over his actions against the multi-state standards, accusing him of illegally meddling in education policy.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
An arrest was announced this morning in connection with last week’s bomb scare at UL Lafayette.
Attorneys, judges and others interviewed by LaPolitics expect 15 to 20 district judge races this year.