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LA families to win with school choice bills

Louisiana finally has a chance to get it right with school vouchers, while opponents to the idea keep getting it wrong, research shows.

Currently, HB 745 by Republicans state Rep. Julie Emerson and SB 313 by GOP state Sen. Rick Edmonds have started advancing through the Legislature. Each would provide for education savings accounts (ESAs) for families to choose to spend on nonpublic elementary and secondary education rather than enroll their children into public schools. It would start by offering transition of students in one of the existing three voucher programs based upon quality of last public school or attended or assigned, family income, and exceptionalities, followed a year later by expanding to all middle-lower income and below households, and then a year later inviting all families. It would not reimburse families for home schooling.

While the House bill heads to the floor, the Senate bill will take a detour to review finances. That is of some concern, as wildly varying estimates have come forth for new added expenses, mainly in fiscal 2028-29 and beyond. The difficulty in coming up with a reasonably accurate estimate lies in so many indeterminacies. For example, as the bill would pay out to upper-middle-class and above families (defined as 250 percent of the federal poverty line or higher) only 55 percent of the money it sends per student without exceptionalities to public schools, 80 percent to others below that, and 160 percent for students with exceptionalities, private schools would have to make a judgment call on tuition. Taking into account demand and supply curves and incremental costs, with this potential new revenue available they want to set a price point to maximize profit, which could mean lowering their tuition to grab a lot more students, or even raising it that may attract fewer but as the ESA amount would buttress family finances this may retain most.


Uncertain legality threatens BC charter review

Legally impaired from the start, Bossier City’s Charter Review Commission finds itself hurtling towards a politicized and suspect outcome that may cost taxpayers dearly.

The panel was born of the desires of four Bossier City councilor graybeards – Republicans David Montgomery and Jeff Free, Democrat Bubba Williams, and no party Jeff Darby – plus their lapdog newcomer Republican Vince Maggio to scuttle term limits, as a reaction to a successful petition drive to impose retroactive three-term limits on city elected officials. It ran afoul of a legal technicality, so organizers are out there again with another attempt plus another couple of measures upon which they report they are making steady progress in signature collection.

However, while possible it’s not probable that enough signatures will have been collected and certified to meet a Jun. 19 deadline to have the measures appear on the Nov. 5 ballot. The timing is important, not only because if the petitioners are too slow – even as it appears almost certain they will have enough signatures to make the Dec. 7 ballot, which is due Oct. 14 – then next years’ city elections won’t have limits in place.

Conservatives win, lose in tough LA environments

For Louisiana’s Republicans when facing unfavorable local electoral environments, sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn’t, results from elections from this weekend show.

It worked for Monroe independent Mayor Friday Ellis, who in facing an electorate about five-eighths black registrants not only won reelection but expanded his majority. Friday, who is white and while he runs as an independent has Republican support including that of a fundraising bundling group designed to steer nationally donations to Republican candidates, bested two black Democrat candidates, one of whom was Democrat former mayor Jamie Mayo whom he deposed four years ago.

All that needs to be known about this election comes from 14 precincts, 11 through 24. With seven-eighths black registrants in these, Ellis pulled down 37 percent of the vote and even won two of them. Considering that he ran up majorities in and around 90 percent in precincts just as heavily populated with white registrants, which also turned out at twice the rate or better than these others, it was no contest.