Friday, December 19, 2008

Three higher education board approve budget cuts

Higher education leaders warned Thursday of “substantial” layoffs soon as campuses grapple with possibly 8 percent state budget cuts in the middle of the academic year.

Cuts approved Thursday by the University of Louisiana, Louisiana Community and Technical College and Southern University systems' executive committees account for about $58 million of the total. The LSU System, which has not approved its reduction plan, is to cut $50.5 million from its campuses, hospitals, research facilities and law and agriculture programs.

"This is a problem that has short-term gain but long-term pain," UL board member Andre Coudrain said after approving $33.5 million in cuts to that system's campuses. "We've got to rethink the way state government acts toward higher education."

Higher education has been directed to absorb more than one-third of a $341 million statewide budget cut brought on by falling revenue. State colleges and health care are the two largest budget items that are not constitutionally protected against cuts.

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