Almost $83 million in cuts to healthcare programs and services went into effect Friday to shore up a mid-year deficit in the state budget. These are separate from a previous round of cuts made in July.
The latest round of reductions includes cuts to services for at-risk children and low-income moms, as well as a one percent drop in the rate paid to hospitals and physicians for non-primary Medicaid services.
State Sen. Dan Claitor wants to add tax rebates to the list of matters that can only be considered in odd-numbered years, when the constitution mandates lawmakers take up fiscal issues. Generally, even-numbered years are reserved for non-fiscal deliberations. The constitutional amendment would require two-thirds approval in the legislature and a vote of the people.
Tax exclusions, exemptions, deductions, credits, and refunds are already limited to fiscal years.
Compass -- the evaluation system being rolled out in public schools across the state -- has raised the stakes. Teachers who don’t score highly effective under the new measures face the loss of salary and tenure. Ineffective teachers could lose their jobs.
The state Department of Education says so far attrition has remained steady, but the East Baton Rouge Parish School District is still wary of turnover. Beanka Williams, the coordinator of support programs for EBR, says the district is having job fairs monthly to make sure schools are fully staffed.
Williams has also been fielding questions from anxious teachers since last summer when they were first asked to set goals for what their students would learn this year.