Wednesday, March 11, 2009

LSU bracing for $101 million in cuts next year

LSU System President John Lombardi asked university chancellors to draw up budget-cutting scenarios totaling $101 million, as the college system braces for the cuts expected to be proposed Friday in Gov. Bobby Jindal's budget plan.

The LSU System is ahead of the pack by estimating how to handle a $101 million — or 15.7 percent — cut to its $646 million state general fund budget.

"I don't know that you can take this type of money out without affecting personnel," Lombardi said. "You're not going to get to this level of cuts without impacting personnel. Whether that can be done through attrition or will require layoffs, we don't know yet."

Louisiana’s public colleges were told Friday by Gov. Bobby Jindal to anticipate $219 million in cuts — or about 15 percent of colleges’ state appropriations — for the upcoming fiscal year that begins July 1.

Michael Martin, chancellor of LSU's main campus in Baton Rouge, said the nearly $35 million budget cut proposed for his campus could force faculty reductions, increased class sizes, less aid for graduate students and no progress on shrinking the backlog of
maintenance needs for classrooms, research labs and other facilities.

The state spends about $1.4 billion on college budgets per year. State appropriations account for roughly 60 percent of total college budgets when tuition revenue and federal funds are included.

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