WRKF News

Vouchers on Trial
7:45 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Whether Vouchers Short Public Schools Argued in La. Supreme Court

Louisiana's state Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in the case challenging the statewide school voucher program.

The justices' questions focused on whether the state constitution allows vouchers for private school tuition to be paid for through the MFP -- the formula used to calculate support for public schools.

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Education
9:03 am
Tue March 19, 2013

Vouchers Threaten Public School's Turnaround

Winbourne Elementary Principal Brenda Wilkinson
Credit Amy Jeffries / WRKF

The state Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday in a case against the statewide school voucher program.

At issue is whether private school tuition can be paid for with the funds that would otherwise go to struggling public schools.

At Hosanna Christian Academy, the tuition is being used in the battle to bring voucher students up to grade level. Hosanna's intervention strategies were inspired by the turnaround efforts at public Winbourne Elementary.
 


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Vouchers on Trial
4:58 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Voucher Program Transforms Christian School

A voucher student considers an editing worksheet in Beverly Ortego's English intervention session.
Credit Amy Jeffries / WRKF

Tuesday, the state Supreme Court will hear arguments in a suit from local school boards and teachers unions wanting Louisiana's school voucher program thrown out.

The legal challenges came almost as soon as the program was passed last year as part of Gov. Bobby Jindal's education overhaul.

Despite that, Hosanna Christian Academy in Baton Rouge went all in.

The school took on almost 300 voucher students, nearly doubling its enrollment. And Hosanna is doing everything it can to make sure all those students can perform at grade level.


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Tax Reform
3:41 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Film Tax Credits Roll Out Jobs, Not State Revenue

Governor Jindal’s tax overhauls, presented to the legislature Thursday morning, include nixing almost 200 exemptions, and tweaking a few others – like the Motion Picture Industry Development Tax Credit.

Some members of the industry are worried the incentives will be at risk during upcoming debate in the legislature.


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Affordable Care Act
5:43 am
Fri March 15, 2013

PAR: More Info Needed to Make Medicaid Expansion Decision for Louisiana

Don Gregory, Principle Health Adviser for the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana
Credit WRKF

The state legislature’s Joint Insurance Committee met Wednesday to discuss the Affordable Care Act and two crucial, yet voluntary, measures: setting up state health insurance exchanges and expanding Medicaid.

At that meeting a representative from the Public Affairs Research Council said Louisiana doesn’t have enough information to make a truly informed decision on implementing the healthcare reform law.

PAR’s Principle Health Advisor Don Gregory recently authored a study about the research done so far on the implications of expanding Medicaid in Louisiana. He says other states have worked to figure out not just the costs, but also the benefits of insuring the uninsured.


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Education
3:25 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

School Turnaround Funds Repurposed

Federal funds dedicated to the turnaround of struggling Louisiana public schools have been repurposed.

The state Department of Education is using $5 million to issue grants to conceive new schools and allow high-performing schools to take on more students.

Almost 200,000 students are attending schools rated D or F. State Supt. John White said traditional public school systems that have been getting turnaround money are not drawing down that number.

“The pace of change has just not been fast enough for us not to consider a new path,” White said.  

Politics
3:23 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Jindal Addresses Bayou Corne's Sinkhole Problem

Gov. Bobby Jindal and other state and local officials met with Texas Brine representatives on March 13. The company responsible for a giant sinkhole in Assumption Parish is sending appraisers to some evacuated homes in Bayou Corne on Monday.

The Governor said company officials will also meet with the State Attorney General’s office on Monday. He said Texas Brine owes state and local governments 4 million dollars, combined, for costs incurred dealing with the disaster.

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Tax Reforms
1:31 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Jindal Promises Revenue Neutral Tax Swap

Gov. Bobby Jindal went before the legislature Thursday to unveil his tax proposal. He wants to eliminate the income tax and says the state can make up the gap with a higher and more expansive sales tax.

The proposal would make Louisiana the state with the highest sales tax in the nation. Combined with local sales taxes, Louisianians would pay an average of 10.75 percent in sales tax. And the state would start taxing things that haven’t been taxed before – like landscaping, haircuts, and cable and Internet services.

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Opinion
5:24 am
Thu March 14, 2013

From Private School to Public, a Family Leaps

The Thomas family.

All but a handful of East Baton Rouge Parish public schools are labeled as poor performers by the state. That’s prompted exodus—individual students leaving the district through the private school voucher program; and a group in southeast Baton Rouge is trying to form a new breakaway district, taking with it some of the newer school buildings and a big chunk of the tax base.

But Commentator Carlos Thomas and his family are putting their faith in the parish school system.

To share your commentary, email news@wrkf.org.

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Affordable Care Act
3:08 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Rep. Cassidy Co-Sponsors "Defund Obamacare Act"

Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy has signed on to legislation that aims to defund President Obama’s health care reform law.

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