Insight

Fridays at 6:44 a.m. and 8:44 a.m.

One-on-one conversations with reporters, researchers, community leaders, and thinkers about what's happening around us in Baton Rouge and Louisiana at large.  Insight probes the big big ideas, and the big picture.

Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition

What to do with all the billions in Clean Water Act fines to be paid by BP and its contractors for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill?

Officially, it’s up to the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, made up of governors from the five affected states and heads of several federal agencies, to decide.

A coalition of environmental groups has come up with their own ideas for how the first millions can best be spent to restore the coast.

Business-backed candidates secured a new 5-to-4 majority on the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board last Saturday.

FuturePAC, which is affiliated with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, put up about $50,000 for candidates in these school board elections. BRAC CEO Adam Knapp discusses what business interests are investing in.


We’ve come to the final act in the fall elections. Saturday voters will cast their ballots in runoffs for Senate, Congress, school board, and judge. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Secretary of State Tom Schedler is projecting turnout will be around 40 percent statewide, down from about 50 percent for the primary.


aliceintheflowers

It has not been a terrific few weeks for state finances.

Oil revenues dropped. And then a $180 million hole appeared in the state budget.

Melinda Deslatte, AP reporter on the state budget beat, explains how Gov. Bobby Jindal plans to close the gap.


The state Dept. of Education has been rolling out all sorts of tests results in the last few weeks – student test scores, teacher evaluations, and school performance calculations.


Headmaster Josh LaSage in Hosanna Christian Academy's in 2012 in "war room" where the student progress is tracked.
Sue Lincoln

In 2012, when Louisiana’s taxpayer funded scholarship program was expanded statewide, Hosanna Christian Academy in Baton Rouge went all in.

In that first year, the school took on almost 300 voucher students, nearly doubling its enrollment. By the start of this school year, Hosanna had more voucher students than any other school in the state -- about 85 percent of its student are enrolled with a voucher. 

Hosanna's students didn't score well enough on state tests, and it won't be allowed to enroll more voucher students next year. Still, headmaster Josh LaSage says the school isn't giving up. 


Louisiana has gone immediately from a primary campaign to a runoff campaign.

Sen. Mary Landrieu will again be at the top of the ticket Dec. 6 fighting for reelection. Congressman Bill Cassidy is continuing to battle to win her seat.

Jeremy Alford, publisher of LaPolitics.com, says with Republicans taking control of the Senate Tuesday, both candidates have new war cries. 

 

 


Tuesday marks the first East Baton Rouge Parish school board election since a redistricting plan was passed this summer, shrinking the board from 11 members to 9.

Charles Lussier is a reporter for The Advocate and has been following the races for the six contested seats.


DonkeyHotey / Flickr

We’re in the midst of the final push before election day. Early voting has begun.

In the latest poll commissioned by Raycom Media, 23 percent are undecided in the Senate race. Sen. Mary Landrieu is leading with 36 percent, Rep. Bill Cassidy with 32 percent, and Col. Rob Manness pulling 6 percent.

Melinda Deslatte, capitol correspondent for the Associated Press, says we'll find out -- likely in a Dec. 6 runoff -- whether campaign messages on policy issues particular to Louisiana or the broader national political context win out.

Wednesday at Southern University’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, political consultant Ben Jeffers delivered a talk about the minority vote — the black vote — as a factor in this fall’s Congressional elections.

Jeffers has been involved in national, state, and local campaigns for more than 40 years. He was the first African American to head the Louisiana Democratic Party. And he’s working with the party this year to help turn out the vote.


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