Though there is no funding mechanism in place, the Lafayette Parish School Board last night unanimously approved Baton Rouge-based CSRS’ $1.1 billion master plan for improving the parish’s school facilities.
The long-range plan, which was presented to the board May 19, is the culmination of three years of work on the board’s part, which included agreeing to the recommendation by the Community Coalition of Lafayette Schools that professional consulting firm CSRS be hired at a cost of $900,000. The board voted only to accept CSRS’ plan; breaking down the master plan’s components and deciding how to proceed with funding and implementation will be discussed at the board’s next regular meeting. There is widespread speculation the board will ask parish voters to approve a property tax increase to fund the repairs and new construction.
Among CSRS’ recommendations in the first phase of work are replacement of Lafayette High, Northside High, L.J. Alleman Middle, Carencro Heights Elementary, G.T. Lindon Elementary, Katharine Drexel Elementary and J.W. Faulk Elementary, along with construction of both a career and technical high school and an auditorium/performing arts theater at Comeaux High. The latter would entail eventually moving the parish’s performing arts program from Lafayette High to Comeaux, which has been the plan since the Schools of Choice program was conceived about a decade ago. Comeaux currently houses the Academy of Visual and Applied Arts, so the move would consolidate the specialized programs for the visual and performing arts at one site.
Superintendent Burnell Lemoine said, should the move take place, parents would be notified in time to make a decision about where to send a freshman student. Lemoine also took the opportunity to correct speculation that there has been any discussion of moving the program next year. “That could be years from now,” he said. “We’re talking about quite some time.”
CSRS estimated the first phase will cost $592 million based on a start date of January 2011 and will take six years to complete.
MAY 24 Blogger Robert Mann posts this entry about the Baton Rouge Chamber's recent report on Louisiana's higher education system. It's critical to economic development, and yet our system is facing a "funding crisis" with no way to resolve it, the report says. The Chamber says control of tuition and fees must be returned to the higher ed governing boards.
MAY 24 Here's a NBC33 story about Tyrann Mathieu. He has signed with the Arizona Cardinals, inking a $3 million, four-year deal. He gets a signing bonus of $265K, but gets another, larger bonus if he doesn't get cut from the team for doing drugs. The deal reportedly includes mandatory tests and meetings for the player.
MAY 24 Jarvis DeBerry posts here about the redonkulus rhetoric that would have us believe NOLA is a safe city with a murder problem. Maybe the city's crime stats don't compare with its murder stats because you can't manipulate a murder, he says: a dead body's a dead body. It just doesn't make sense, he says, and his readers agree: a poll asks if they believe the city is safe, and more than 90 percent say no.
MAY 24 Jindal administration officials announced Thursday that the privatization of public health care is going to cost a lot more than they budgeted for, the Advocate reports here. "I'm so surprised," said no one. Anywhere. The cost they're projecting now is more than $1 billion - a lot more than the $626 million budgeted for it. And, it's more than it cost the state to operate those hospitals. So why are we doing this again?
MAY 24 Blogger CB Forgotston ridicules the recent PR campaign by the state GOP in the wake of a legislative auditor's request to both major parties. The GOP (apparently unaware that the Dems got the same request) started yammering about being targeted because it had "killed" a tax increase. CB finds that laughable, but it's also pretty funny that the GOP was comparing this episode to the IRS scandal (Because the President has so much to do with our state auditor. Right?).
MAY 24 Politico details some recent fund-raising efforts by Sen. David Vitter, which have raised the question of his future political plans. This time, it is a $5,000 per head "bayou weekend" that includes "Cajun cooking" and an all-caps "alligator hunt," the story reports. Funds raised go to a super PAC that can spend money to support Vitter in federal or state races, the story points out.
MAY 24 The pink building on Royal in the quarter was sold at a sheriff's sale Thursday, this Picayune story reports. An injunction that would have halted the sale wasn't enforced because the family failed to post a $150,000 bond, the story reports. So the owner of the mortgages on the building bought it, for nearly $7 million. Now the feuding family will have to negotiate with that company to get a lease on the building that has housed their business for close to 60 years.
MAY 23 This post in Louisiana Voice tells us about a bill by a Winnsboro lege that would require all public high school students to take at least one Course Choice online class in order to graduate. (What?) Blogger Tom Aswell says it's a monument to "waste and corruption," especially in light of the problems he's exposed with the program in recent weeks. Idaho had a similar program, but voters removed it by a 2-1 margin, Aswell says.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.
Philip deMahy Sr., a once respected New Iberia ad exec, was sentenced May 2 to spend the next two years (he faced up to 100 years) in a state penitentiary after state and federal investigators found dozens of images depicting children engaged in lewd sexual acts on his personal computer.