Friday, January 15, 2010

Science fair and student teacher funds cut

Governor Bobby Jindal's plan to cut LSU's budget by some $12.6 million at mid-year will hurt K-12 schools as well as the state's flagship university.

Notice has gone out to principals that popular programs will be sacrificed to the governor's budget axe.

First to go is the stipend that LSU's School of Education pays to K-12 teachers who supervise student teachers. As Dean M. Jayne Fleener, Ph.D. put it in an e-mail to principals:

Because of the current 6% budget cut to the College of Education, we cannot
offer your teachers who are supervising student teachers in their schools
the $200 stipend we have in the past. We truly value our partnership with
your teachers and schools and regret we cannot honor your teachers in this
way. However, these budget cuts prevent our continuing to provide this token
of our appreciation at this time.
The bad news continues for employees of the college. Writes the dean, "in addition to other cuts, we will not be able to offer our own university supervisors travel money to defray their expenses for supervision. Given the wide range of placements across several school systems, this is a significant cost to each supervisor."

Students in middle and high schools will also feel the pinch from the governor's refusal to use Tax Amnesty Program funds to prop up higher education. Two popular events sponsored by LSU's Continuing Education department, the 2010 Region VII Science and Engineering Fair and the 2010 Louisiana Science and Engineering Fair, are being cancelled.

Writes program director Gail Hawkes in a memo to principals, "We know that these events are of great educational value to our community and to the state of Louisiana. LSU Continuing Education will explore alternative long-term funding mechanisms that might permit LSU to
resume hosting the fairs in the future."

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