Thursday, September 16, 2010

LSU could lose thousands of students, hundreds of employees under Jindal plan

Last Sunday the Baton Rouge Advocate published a report about how school systems can go about firing teachers because the state is facing yet another budget crisis - a $2 billion shortfall is looming for the coming fiscal year.

Today, the state's newspaper of record has this frightening headline: "LSU predicts massive layoff, loss of students if budget cut."

Reporter Jordan Blum writes that the flagship university will lose about 700 employees and close to 8,000 students if LSU is forced to trim its budget by another $62 million.

That number wasn't just drawn from a hat. The Jindal administration is requiring the university to write a budget plan that includes the cut. All told, the state is asking Louisiana's colleges and universities to write budget estimates with cuts amounting to $437 million next year.

And that's on top of the $270 million cut from higher education by the legislature and the Jindal administration over the past two years.

As The Advocate report notes, the cuts are seriously eroding higher education in our state. LSU is planning to shutter the School of Library Information and Science, and eliminate degree programs in German and Latin. These are not steps that should be considered by a major university.

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