Two charter organizations spent $250,000 on out-of-town professional training | The Lens – Algiers Charter Schools Association staff went to Las Vegas, Orlando, Los Angeles and Point Clear, Alabama.
New Orleans teacher termination damages could reach $750 million | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune –
The layoff lawsuit covering more than 7,000 Orleans Parish School Board employees who lost their jobs after Hurricane Katrina could cost the taxpayers as much as $750 million, a School Board lawyer estimated Thursday. That’s enough to cripple what remains of the school system, but it’s only half the original estimate of $1.5 billion.
Akili Academy Illustrates How New Orleans Teachers Have Changed | WWNO – “Reporter Eve Abrams talked to the staff at one charter school, Akili Academy, to find out how they feel about the teaching scene.” (Includes audio.)
A challenge: Teach 8th grade Common Core before endorsing it – The Washington Post’s Answer Sheet publishes Louisiana edu-blogger Mercedes Schneider.
Packed meeting protests proposal to reroute Old Metairie freight trains | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune
The Gateway team said the goals of the study are to reduce vehicle congestion, improve emergency evacuation and improve pedestrian safety, among other things. And with the Port of New Orleans expecting cargo increases to also increase rail traffic to and from the port, delays on the Old Metairie, or Back Belt route, will become increasingly unacceptable.
But many of those who spoke out at the meeting on Thursday night worried that the ultimate goal of the Gateway project was to relocate the current railway from its position in upper-middle-class Old Metairie to the less affluent neighborhood of Hollygrove.
Martin Wine Cellar on ‘fast track’ to March construction and September opening, owner says | Uptown Messenger – The main branch of the 60-year-old neighborhood grocery, on Baronne Street, has been empty since Katrina. The owner is hopeful it can be re-opened this summer.
City Council passes new rules for Carnival parades | The New Orleans Advocate – The key question is whether there is enough manpower in the police department to enforce the new ordinances on ladders, port-a-potties and cordoning off areas in neutral grounds.
Government & Politics
Landrieu sees his tenure as mission to reform City Hall | The Advocate – This profile of Mayor Mitch Landrieu implies that the election will be a referendum on Hizzoner’s governing style, which critics have claimed is inflexible and even vindictive.
From the City Council to the Legislature to union leaders representing the city’s cops and firefighters, the charge has come that [Mayor Mitch] Landrieu won’t hear them out, won’t listen to criticism and can’t drop a grudge. …
What voters will decide next month is whether Landrieu really is too much of an autocrat, or, as the mayor argues, is only making tough decisions about how to spend limited resources, decisions that will inevitably leave someone unhappy.
Weighing the weed debate in Louisiana | Shreveport Times – An in-depth piece on the various political facets of the debate over marijuana, from medical use, to decriminalization and potential legalization.
McAllister: Congressional job ‘sucks’ | The News Star – Candid observations from newly elected U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister, R-Swartz. Despite his dislike for the job, he holds out hope for bipartisan problem-solving.
Audubon Louisiana Nature Center restoration finally begins after sitting in tatters since Katrina | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – This morning, officials were scheduled to break ground on the Nature Center, which has been empty since Hurricane Katrina.
Plaquemines residents voice fears about proposed coal export facility, train traffic | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune
In small group sessions, residents spoke of their concerns that the rail lines could harm their property values and that the dust could not only harm their own health but the parish’s famous orange groves as well.
“And the people in Belle Chasse aren’t aware that this will affect them too,” Turner said. “These cars will pass through their community too.”
Louisiana accounts for about 20 percent of U.S. coal exports, mostly because of its location at the intersection of Mississippi River barge routes serving Midwestern states with large coal deposits and Gulf shipping routes serving Europe and Latin America, according to a May report from the National Mining Association.
Judge study may need more time | The Advocate – A proposal to hire a national firm to study whether the state has too many judges might delay any action on the findings until after many judges are elected to new six-year terms in November.
Gusman’s son works for law firm with lucrative contract with Sheriff’s Office | The New Orleans Advocate – The Gaffney law firm did score highest among law firms who bid for the contract. The firm received over $280,000 from the Sheriff’s Office in 2012.