Senators reject new school funding formula
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Senators have killed a $3.5 billion public school funding proposal submitted to lawmakers by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
The Senate Education Committee voted Tuesday to reject the formula, because of concerns about proposed changes to special education and gifted student payments to schools.
The formula submitted by BESE would have paid for public schools for the 2013-14 school year. Lawmakers can approve it or reject it, but cannot change it.
Without a new formula, schools will continue to be paid under the 2011-12 funding formula, which costs $30 million more than the funding currently included in the state budget.
Sen. Conrad Appel, chairman of the education committee, says he doesn't think BESE could get a reworked formula through the Legislature before the session ends June 6.
Cleco sends crews to help in wake of OKC tornado
PINEVILLE, La. (AP) - Cleco Corp. is sending a 34-member crew to Oklahoma City to help Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company restore power to customers after a tornado destroyed its electric system.
The crew is expected to arrive in Oklahoma on Wednesday.
Cleco's mutual assistance coordinator, Floyd Pittman, says after seeing the damage left in the storm's wake, Cleco's crews head there with the expectation of not repairing lines for OGE but helping them to rebuild their system.
OGE serves more than 801,000 customers in Oklahoma and western Arkansas. At this time, approximately 30,000 customers are reporting power outages.
Pittman says the crew will stay and work in Oklahoma "for as long as they need us."
Cleco, headquartered in Pineville, La., serves about 283,000 customers in Louisiana.
Raceland woman dies after car crash
GRAY, La. (AP) - State police say a 24-year-old Raceland woman has died from injuries she suffered in a head-on collision April 27 with a driver troopers allege was drunk.
Jeneva Billiot died over the weekend at University Hospital in New Orleans, where she was taken after the crash.
Troopers say 31-year-old Brandon Cheramie, of Galliano, was southbound on La. Highway 1 around 10 p.m. when he struck a northbound car driven by 31-year-old Benjamin Sanchez, also of Galliano.
Cheramie received minor injuries and refused treatment. Sanchez received moderate injuries and was taken to Lady of the Sea Hospital. Billiot was a passenger in Sanchez's car.
Troopers say Cheramie was booked with DWI.
Deputies investigate 2 slayings in Harvey
HARVEY, La. (AP) - Jefferson Parish sheriff's detectives are seeking information about the deaths of a man found in a Harvey field and another man shot once in the chest inside his garage two miles away.
Col. John Fortunato says there are no indications that the slayings, which occurred within two hours of 1 another Monday night, are linked.
Deputies were called to investigate reports of gunfire and found the victim lying dead in a nearby open field. The victim has been identified as 22-year-old Larry Wix, of Harvey.
Just before midnight, dispatchers sent deputies back into the same neighborhood on reports of a man suffering from a gunshot wound. Fortunato says they found 23-year-old Robert Casbon lying in the garage of his home. He died several hours later at a New Orleans hospital.
Police: Intoxicated mom left baby in vehicle
KENNER, La. (AP) - Police say an intoxicated mom left her 3-month-old daughter inside of a parked sport utility vehicle while she socialized at a Kenner bar.
Sgt. Brian McGregor, spokesman for the Kenner Police Department, tells The Times-Picayune the infant was strapped into a baby carrier inside the vehicle -- with the keys in the ignition and the engine running -- for about an hour.
McGregor says a witness alerted police after noticing a baby alone and asleep inside of an SUV around 11:35 p.m. Saturday.
Police say 41-year-old Lavenia Suren, the baby's mother was found inside the bar.
McGregor says Suren allegedly smelled of alcohol, swayed as she stood and had slurred speech.
Suren was booked with child desertion and released on bond.
It was unclear whether she has an attorney.
DeSoto board to discuss desegregation order
MANSFIELD, La. (AP) - DeSoto Parish School Board members will hold a special meeting to discuss its desegregation order where it relates to proposed school construction and enforcement of Mansfield school attendance zones.
Schools Superintendent Cade Brumley estimates about 40 students are attending the wrong schools. Until now, he said, enforcement of the attendance zones has not been pressed by the U.S. Department of Justice.
But the DeSoto Parish School Board must make the change in order for the Justice Department to approve much-needed expansion plans for the North DeSoto campus.
The Times reports the school board will meet in special session Wednesday to discuss the issue and the accompanying court order that will be filed with the U.S. District Court's Western District, where final approval of any school changes is required.
Christus to close main Shreveport hospital
SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) - Christus Health will close Sutton Children's Medical Center in Shreveport as it moves services from Christus Schumpert St. Mary Place to south Shreveport and Bossier City.
Dr. William Lunn, Christus Health Shreveport-Bossier chief operating officer says the closure is part of a 2-year plan to focus on outpatient services and close the St. Mary Place location entirely.
The Times reports the changes, which start immediately, will cost about 200 jobs in Shreveport-Bossier City over the next two years.
Sutton Children's Medical Center, which opened in 2006 at the St. Mary Place location, was the health system's attempt to create a one-stop location for specialty pediatric care. Community members, led by pro golfer Hal Sutton, helped raise $7 million for the $20 million children's hospital.
NEW ORLEANS-INSPECTOR GENERAL
New Orleans IG appointed to new term
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The New Orleans Ethics Review Board voted 4-0 to reappoint Ed Quatrevaux as the city's inspector general for a second 4-year term. Quatrevaux was hired in 2009; his new term will begin in October.
The Times-Picayune reports the board acted Monday after hearing comments from 10 public speakers and then holding an almost 50-minute executive session.
6 of the 10 speakers urged the board not to reappoint Quatrevaux. Their objections centered on the claim that he has not done enough to support the work of the independent police monitor, who is to a large degree independent from Quatrevaux's office but who depends on the same pool of money.
Quatrevaux was originally hired after a nationwide search. The city's first inspector general, Robert Cerasoli, resigned in January 2009, citing health problems.
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