LSU could cut 2,000 classes in fall
BATON ROUGE- If Governor Jindal's proposed cuts to higher education go into affect, then LSU plans to lay off hundreds of instructors and cut 2,000 classes by next fall according to LSU System President King Alexander.
The Jindal administration plans to reveal its budget plans Friday for the next fiscal year with up to $400 million in cuts to higher education. University leaders say they'll fight the plan.
"Friday is the worst-case scenario," said Alexander. "Once we get that out, we will go forward from there to try to mitigate that entire cut the best we can."
Alexander said the cuts will slow down graduation rates and force students to leave the state for college.
In an even worse scenario, Southern University president Ronald Mason has said the cuts to his system are "un-plannable" and Southern wouldn't survive as people know it.
Higher education leaders say they're working with lawmakers to mitigate the cuts, but they're not ready to reveal the details about their plan.
"We don't want to basically mess things up by divulging too much," said Joseph Rallo, the Commissioner of Higher Education for the Board of Regents, "but by Friday I think we'll have a better sense of what's going on."
Leaders in the legislature have said it will be hard for lawmakers to make drastic cuts to higher education in an election year. "I just don't see how we can go back to our homes, and many of us are facing re-election in the fall, and plan to get reelected with these cuts," said House Speaker Chuck Kleckley.
The cuts do have larger consequences. The credit rating agency Moody's says from 2009 to 2014 Louisiana's public universities have had the deepest funding cuts in the nation. Moody's says the situation is so bad that state's universities are ill-equipped to face any additional credit stress, and could see a downgrade in their rating as a result.
That same agency dropped Louisiana from "stable" to a "negative" credit-outlook last week.