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High School Athletics
2:37 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Football Playoff Split Goes Before Legislative Commitee

Members of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association met Tuesday with lawmakers to discuss the recent vote to split high school football playoffs into two separate divisions; one for public schools and another for select-admission schools, such as private or parochial schools.


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Tenure Laws
5:42 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

On Second Thought, Tenure Changes Tossed

Judge Michael Caldwell heard this case in the 19th District Court for the first time in December. Then, he upheld parts of the law - now he's struck down the whole thing.
Credit Amy Jeffries / WRKF

A state judge has thrown out rules passed last session tying teacher tenure and pay to classroom performance. Monday's decision is a turnaround from the same judge’s previous ruling.

In December, Judge Michael Caldwell threw out parts of what’s been called the “Teacher Tenure Act,” – parts that didn’t directly address teacher tenure, but made rules for school boards, visiting teachers, superintendents and principals.

That day, the governor touted the ruling as a success because it kept his tenure overhauls. Now the judge is saying the whole thing has to go. 

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Education
8:10 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

State Supt. Aims for Vouchers, With or Without School Funding Formula

The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is slated to approve the school funding formula next week. The new proposal, released Thursday, still pays for the voucher program with dollars that would otherwise go to local districts. But, state Supt. John White is pitching alternative financing that would skirt the formula.


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FY14 Budget
5:28 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Fact Check: Completing Nichols' Numbers

On the Jim Engster Show Thursday morning, Division of Administration Commissioner Kristy Nichols relied on talking points that have been repeated by officials in the Jindal administration. 

The Commissioner has cherry-picked her facts.

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State Pensions
5:44 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Cash Balance Plan Could Tiptoe Back to Lawmakers

Chairman of the House Retirement Committee, Representative Kevin Pearson, brought forth the Jindal-backed cash balance plan last session.
Credit Louisiana Legislature

Representative Kevin Pearson, chairman of the House Retirement Committee, has prepared a bill that he hopes will improve the cash balance plan – despite that the plan is the subject of ongoing litigation. The plan was overturned in court because it didn’t get a two-thirds vote in the legislature. 

If the State Supreme Court does uphold the decision, the bill could be used as a safety-net, and the cash balance plan could be brought before the legislature a second time.


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Education Overhaul
5:37 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Watching the Charter School Movement Play Out

Credit Bloomsbury Press

Journalist Sarah Carr spent a year chronicling the lives of a skeptical teenager, a fresh-faced teacher, and a veteran principal in three separate charter schools in New Orleans for her new book, “Hope Against Hope.”

Some of the same players who orchestrated the makeover of public education in the Crescent City after Hurricane Katrina are trying to do the same thing in Baton Rouge, without the prompting of a natural disaster.

Supporters of the movement hold up charter schools as the salvation of American education. Critics say the overhaul will lead to its ruination. What Carr found was a lot of gray.


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Tax Reforms
4:28 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Tax Reform Risks Local Services, Tax Elections

Do you pay your neighbor's son to mow your lawn? Under Gov. Jindal's tax plan, he may legally have to add a sales tax to his total. -But that's only if that service is approved to be taxed by the parish you live in, according to the state constitution.
Credit flickr.com/idiolector/

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are voicing their skepticism of Governor Bobby Jindal’s tax overhauls. The forum this morning: an annual pre-session briefing hosted by the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.

Jim Patterson of LABI kicked off the presentation with what he’s heard from legislators about their private talks with Governor regarding his still unreleased tax overhauls. "[Gov. Jindal] does want to conform the local sales tax base to the state tax base," Patterson said. "This will help local governments to absorb what are going to be some relegation of services by the state to them.


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Affordable Care Act
1:51 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Failure To Expand Medicaid To Directly Effect Low-To-Moderate Income New Orleans Residents

Gov. Bobby Jindal has remained steadfast thus far in his opposition to expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act saying it’s too expensive and that Medicaid is an outdated, inflexible program. 

Not expanding Medicaid it will have a direct effect on low-to-moderate income New Orleanians.

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State Budget 2013
3:01 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Fiscal Hawks to Pick at Budget

The group of legislators that routinely opposes Governor Bobby Jindal's use of one-time money in his proposed budgets met over the weekend, and may soon have an alternate way to fund some of higher education's budget. 

Last year, the fiscal hawks proposed over $160 million of cuts to lower priority areas of the budget. Representative Kirk Talbot, a leader of the group, says those weren’t considered until the mid-year shortfall. They’ll try again this year.


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State Budget 2013
2:06 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Dept. of Health and Hospitals Proposed Budget Depends on Contingencies

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposed $24.7 billion state budget for the next fiscal year seemingly leaves the state Department of Health and Hospitals relatively unscathed.

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