Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Members of the Lafayette Parish School Board must be a limber bunch — they’ve been doing a circus-worthy contortion act for the last month. But the board’s agreement to revisit its vote on converting N.P. Moss Middle School into Thibodaux Career & Technical High School, after it learned the action may have violated the state’s open meetings law, was the right decision. We still believe Moss is a much better location to house the tech school than the abandoned Super Kmart building on Ambassador Caffery; Moss is currently severely underpopulated, and it’s a new facility on enough acreage to grow. But the hasty decision by the board on Nov. 15 to rescind an earlier vote against using Moss, and then immediately voting in favor of converting Moss, left parents of Moss students feeling stunned and betrayed. Many of these parents had fought the proposal to convert their neighborhood middle school into a tech high school, and they thought the issue was off the table. In moving a new vote on converting Moss to Thibodaux Tech to Dec. 15, these parents have time, should they choose, to mount a campaign against it, or to at least let their voices be heard. And kudos to state Rep. Rickey Hardy for once again keeping the board honest (former Lafayette city councilwoman Nancy Mounce also raised the illegality issue with DA Mike Harson).

Call it a dry run. When UL’s German-language coordinator (and sole instructor) was summoned to the office of Provost Steve Landry last week to discuss the future of the program, we got a taste of what will likely be many such death marches by professors who teach programs with low numbers of students majoring and minoring in them. The philosophy degree program was nixed last year. And while German remains a degree program for the time being — the administration and the coordinator, Dr. Caroline Huey, agreed to revisit the program next spring — it will likely become one of several programs at the university that will be jettisoned when UL learns just how deeply its budget will be cut after state lawmakers grapple with yet another billion dollar-plus shortfall next year. It’s time for solons to take a hard look at what state programs are constitutionally protected from budget cuts; higher ed and health care can’t be sacrificial lambs forever.

Little guessing where Tammy Crain-Waldrop’s political affinities lie. A researcher for the state Senate, Crain-Waldrop was suspended without pay recently after she hit send on a racist email depicting President Barack Obama — he’s the president, y’all; get over it and vote against him in 2012 if that floats your boat — as a fair-skinned, wavy-haired white guy and the words, “Do you like him any better now? No? Me neither ..... Then you’re not a racist.” Crain-Waldrop sent said email to the Capitol email post office, which distributes mail to all lawmakers and their staffs. Understandably, several lawmakers were offended. Our Capitol couillon followed up the first email with a second apologizing and indicating she sent the first email by mistake. We believe Crain-Waldrop was honest when she claimed she hadn’t meant to send the message to the Capitol email post office. She just meant to send it to her racist friends.

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