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LSU President Alexander releases video on higher education budget cut threat

Advocate staff file photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander.

LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander has released a video message to reassure the university’s supporters, following the release of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s budget recommendation that threatens to cut higher education funding by more than $500 million if state lawmakers don’t approve a plan that would reduce some tax credits. “We will weather this storm together,”… Continue reading →

State higher ed commissioner: Bobby Jindal's budget proposal a starting point

State Higher Education Commissioner Joe Rallo says the budget recommendation released by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration last week is a starting point for bigger discussions as state legislators work to craft a final spending plan for the coming year. In the meantime, uncertainty lingers over the state’s colleges and universities — from immediate questions over how many… Continue reading →

Superintendent John White: Bobby Jindal's budget would force major layoffs in education department

Advocate staff photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON -- Superintendent of Education John White

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposed budget would force layoffs of about 100 of the state Department of Education’s roughly 300 employees, state Superintendent of Education John White said Monday. White said he was originally told the governor’s budget plan could result in 45 agency workers losing their jobs. “We thought we could find a way through… Continue reading →

A 'radical' idea for difficult times? Education leaders float idea of privatizing some public universities

Years of deep cuts to state funding for Louisiana’s colleges and universities — and the threat of even further reductions in the near future — have some leaders looking at drastic measures that could change the face of Louisiana higher education. One idea that has recently been floated: Why not encourage some of the state’s public… Continue reading →

What’s the future of Louisiana rating public schools with letter grades? Many think it’s senseless

The future of letter grades for public schools is unclear less than five years after the Louisiana Legislature ordered them to begin. The annual marks, which have sparked bitter arguments, were already partly on hold for the past two years, and Louisiana’s top school board will be asked next week to extend that another… Continue reading →

Higher ed would be cut $211M by Bobby Jindal's proposed budget

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration presented a budget recommendation on Friday that largely spares colleges and universities from what they feared would be catastrophic cuts in the coming year. But higher education leaders warn that there’s still a lot of work to be done before lawmakers finalize a state spending plan. The Jindal plan relies on $526… Continue reading →

Bobby Jindal's budget proposal reveals spending, cuts planned for Louisiana

Advocate Photo by MARK BALLARD -- Amite State Rep. John Bel Edwards, head of the House Democratic Caucus, reads the governor's budget proposal on Friday as it was being presented to the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget.

The Jindal administration rolled out a budget plan Friday that avoids much of the doomsday scenario spawned by a $1.6 billion revenue shortfall — partly by scaling back state tax credits — but still imposes significant cuts to government spending. The budget plan includes suggestions for raising money, including the possibility of a… Continue reading →

Governor Bobby Jindal's budget short on money for LSU hospital deals

Private operators of LSU hospitals asked for a $142 million increase in funding that is not included in the Jindal administration’s budget proposal. Most of the extra funding request came from operators of the New Orleans LSU hospital, which projected a need for $87.6 million in additional funding that they didn’t get. In Baton Rouge, the difference… Continue reading →

Bloomberg political pundit: Bobby Jindal earns B- for CPAC performance

Associated Press photo by CLIFF OWEN -- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Md. on Thursday

Bobby Jindal desires to be the anti-Washington, anti-Common Core, anti-Obamacare candidate among the GOP nominee hopefuls but Jindal’s temperament and style create difficulties for him as Jindal sets out to contrast himself from the edgier Ted Cruz and others. Mark Halperin, managing editor of Bloomberg Politics, graded the Louisiana governor’s performance along with Ben Carson, Chris Christie,… Continue reading →

GOP legislators will look at tax exemptions to help raise revenue, despite Gov. Jindal's objections

Advocate staff file photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- The Louisiana State Capitol and grounds.

When the budget is unveiled Friday, some Republican lawmakers say they’re going to be looking at tax exemptions and credits, which Gov. Bobby Jindal repeatedly has declared off-limits, to see if any adjustments can be made that would raise revenue to help fill a $1.6 billion deficit between the cost of state services and the amount of revenues… Continue reading →

Political expert: There's something unusual about Bobby Jindal, David Vitter's icy relationship

Associated Press photo by CLIFF OWEN -- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Md. on Thursday

Gov. Bobby Jindal let an open secret slip during an interview with a national media outlet this week: He and U.S. Sen. David Vitter aren’t exactly friends. “If you turn (your recorder) off, I’ll tell you what I really think about him,” Jindal reportedly told the National Journal when asked about Vitter, who is running… Continue reading →

Brother-in-law of state health secretary Kathy Kliebert facing ethics charges for failure to disclose his state Medicaid contractor employment

State health Secretary Kathy Kliebert’s brother-in-law is facing ethics charges for failure to disclose his employment by state Medicaid contractor Magellan Health Services Inc. The Louisiana Board of Ethics said Galen Schum failed to file financial disclosure statements required of public servants and members of their immediate family who derive anything of economic value, directly,… Continue reading →

Bobby Jindal to propose spending $500 million less on tax credits, give money to Louisiana higher education, health care

Advocate staff file photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- La. Gov. Bobby Jindal

Gov. Bobby Jindal is proposing to spend $526 million less on refundable tax credits next year, and direct that money to lessen the budget cuts on public colleges and health services. The plan will be contained in the governor's budget proposal for next fiscal year, to be unveiled to lawmakers Friday. For tax credits deemed "refundable,"… Continue reading →

State Sen. Elbert Guillory stumps GOP message on Hip-Hop airwaves

Advocate staff file photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON -- Sen. Elbert Guillory, D-Opelousas

Louisiana state Sen. Elbert Guillory is marking Black History Month by hitting the airwaves to promote the Republican Party on hip-hop and R&B stations in 11 cities across the country. Guillory, an Opelousas Republican and candidate for lieutenant governor, will be on radio stations in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, as well as Memphis, Birmingham, Miami, Jacksonville,… Continue reading →

Politics blog: Will Bobby Jindal-John White feud affect Louisiana governor’s budget plans?

Advocate file photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON -- State Superintendent of Education John White

A bitter disagreement between Gov. Bobby Jindal and state Superintendent of Education John White over Common Core may show up again when Jindal’s spending plans are unveiled on Friday morning. State aid for public schools, dollars for standardized test contracts and funding for the state Department of Education are all in play in the budget amid… Continue reading →

Politics blog: Legislator wants voters to decide on Medicaid expansion

The Louisiana State Capitol building in Baton Rouge.

With health care cuts looming large, top Democratic state Sen. Karen Peterson is proposing to let Louisiana voters decide whether they want Medicaid expansion to relieve the funding pressure. Gov. Bobby Jindal has vehemently opposed Medicaid expansion, claiming it only extends an expensive program that’s not working to improve people health and would end up being too… Continue reading →

Politics blog: Make higher ed the top funding priority, education leaders urge a day before Bobby Jindal’s budget recommendation

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- LSU freshman student Maria Rodriguez, does some last minute studying for an upcoming Math final exam Monday afternoon at the foot of the Memorial Tower on campus. The exams, which signal the end of the fall semester, continue through Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014.

The leaders of Louisiana’s college and university systems and the state commissioner of higher education have sent a joint letter to Gov. Bobby Jindal, urging the governor to look for ways to keep funding steady for higher ed in the face of a $1.6 billion funding shortfall in the coming year. Jindal’s administration will… Continue reading →

La. VA complains about payments

Louisiana veterans are running up debt because a federal agency isn’t paying their medical bills on time, according to the chief of the state’s veterans agency. Federal law authorizes the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide health coverage for eligible military veterans when they are “financially liable” for emergency medical services provided at a local non-VA… Continue reading →

Advisers: Louisiana's Group Benefits reserves fallen below 'safe' levels

Once-robust state Group Benefits reserves have fallen below what the state-operated health insurance program’s financial advisers consider “safe.” The Legislative Fiscal Office reported the fund balance sat at $102.8 million at the end of January — down from a high of more than $500 million a little more than two years ago. The fund balance… Continue reading →

Bobby Jindal at CPAC: Repeal Obamacare; remove Common Core from every classroom; we are at war with radical Islam

Associated Press photo by CLIFF OWENGov. Bobby Jindal speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md., on Thursday.

Gov. Bobby Jindal took aim at the Affordable Care Act, Common Core educational standards and President Barack Obama’s leadership in the fight against Islamic terrorism in a speech Thursday that stuck to familiar ground at the Conservative Political Action Conference. The 2015 CPAC is a significant… Continue reading →

Bobby Jindal on David Vitter: ‘Turn the recorder off, I’ll tell you what I really think about him’

U.S. Sen. David Vitter; Gov. Bobby Jindal

It’s no secret that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and U.S. Sen. David Vitter, a Republican hoping to succeed him in the state’s top office, have an icy relationship. The reason for their reported feud? “If you turn [your recorder] off, I’ll tell you what I really think about him,” Jindal told The National Journal in a recent… Continue reading →

Southern University job fair attracts over 400 students and 70 companies

SU Media Relations  photo by NAVILLE OUBRE - -  Southern University Career Fair in F.G. Clark Activity Center. ExxonMobil representatives Claudette Bradford and Jarvis Hays, at left, speak to Southern University mechanical engineering major Jaylen Scott on Wednesday during the University's Career Fair where company representatives can meet with students about job opportunities with their company.

More than 400 students, graduates and others sought interviews and information from company representatives at the booths of more than 70 companies and school systems Wednesday at Southern University’s Career Exploration Day. The event was coordinated by Southern’s Office of Career Services in partnership with the school’s Department of Education, Arts and Humanities. Some of the companies… Continue reading →

Schools chief John White optimistic new teacher reviews will win BESE approval

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Louisiana State Superintendent of Education John White speaks in the cafeteria of the W.D. & Mary Baker Smith Career Center on Oct. 6, 2014. White was visiting schools around Lafayette Parish as part of his Louisiana Believes tour.

State Superintendent of Education John White said Wednesday he is optimistic Louisiana’s top school board next week will approve key changes in how public school teachers are evaluated, including less reliance on student test scores. The recommendations stem from a panel of educators and others — called the Act 240 subcommittee — that… Continue reading →

Politics blog: Bobby Jindal pulls 2 percent in latest Iowa poll

If the Iowa Republican Caucus were held today, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal would get support from about 2 percent of participants, according to the latest poll on the potential GOP 2016 presidential slate. The Quinnipiac University Poll released this week found Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as the favorite among likely Iowa GOP Caucus goers in the… Continue reading →

LSU audit: No problems with Bill Cassidy work arrangement

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  Bill Cassidy makes a speech to his supporters after winning the US Senate race at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014.

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy performed the part-time teaching physician work required of him under an LSU Health Science Center arrangement, according to a newly released LSU internal audit. But the audit report said future such work arrangements between Cassidy and LSU should be formalized, including a system for measuring performance. During last fall’s U.S.… Continue reading →