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LSU releases plan for possible 32 percent budget cut

8 years 5 months 2 weeks ago Monday, January 25 2016 Jan 25, 2016 January 25, 2016 4:20 PM January 25, 2016 in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Russell Jones

BATON ROUGE - Officials with Louisiana State University released a list of possible cuts and savings in order to absorb a possible $65 million midyear budget cut, which represents 32 percent of its total state funding.

University President F. King Alexander said LSU's share of the cuts alone, which amounted to $19.9 million, was the equivalent of a $690 fee increase for all of their students, cutting the overall student body by 12 percent, eliminating 275 courses and laying off 135 faculty, and cutting 270 staff positions.

Combined with the steadily-mounting effects of budget cuts since 2009, Alexander said figuring out how to take a $65 million cut was an "impossible" task.

"These numbers are startling," Alexander said in a statement posted to LSU's Budget Hub website. "If the potential cuts become a reality, it is unlikely that any university, college, or center will be able to avoid a direct impact on its student experience, research mission, or outreach efforts."

The rest of the LSU system would absorb varying numbers of cuts. LSU Alexandria would cut six full-time positions, which was projected only to affect student services. LSU Shreveport, on the other hand, would have to immediately furlough their staff and cut between 5 and 10 percent of their weekly hours, and also eliminate support labs which help students register for classes and apply for financial aid as well as find spots in classes needed for graduation.

Governor John Bel Edwards asked education leaders earlier this year to prepare for $131 million in cuts, with $65 million of that coming from LSU, as part of the fallout from a $750 million midyear budget deficit for the current fiscal year. The governor will submit a proposed budget to the legislature by Feb. 13, which officials said will show a $1.9 billion shortfall for the next fiscal year. A special session is expected to begin on Feb. 14 to address both of those budget shortcomings.

King pointed out that despite previous cuts, LSU has still found a way to succeed.

"LSU has increased enrollment, improved the diversity of the student body, raised graduation rates above the national average, and increased federal research expenditures," he said. "But along the way, we have made sacrifices, such as fewer academic programs, loss of faculty and staff, and reductions in support services that would have helped more students be successful – all to address continued budget shortfalls. The ripple effects of LSU’s success will be amplified or muted by the outcomes of this year’s legislative sessions."

Below are the full list of what LSU says are what the impact from the proposed midyear budget cuts could look like for each school:

Louisiana State University & A&M College
Equivalent to an increase in student fees of almost $690 per student in this fiscal year alone.
Equivalent to a 12% reduction in number of undergraduate students.
Equivalent to 135 faculty lines or 10% of the faculty positions in the operating budget at LSU, requiring a total of 275 courses to be eliminated. The potential elimination of
faculty positions on the LSU campus would also reduce external research productivity by approximately $9.5 million for the remainder of this fiscal year.
Equivalent to 270 staff lines or approximately 14% of the staff positions in the operating budget at LSU.

LSU Alexandria
Loss of six full-time, unclassified positions, which represents a 2.8% loss of its current workforce.
The loss of these positions will impact student support services, which in turn could have ripple effects on student retention and future enrollment.

LSU Eunice
Implement an immediate reduction in force for 14 professional and faculty positions, replacing only faculty FTEs with adjunct instructors.
Immediate furlough of nine classified staff positions.
Elimination of at least two high-cost, high-demand academic programs.
Reduction of course sections by 20% (80 sections eliminated).

LSU Shreveport
Immediate furlough for all faculty and staff, equivalent to a 5-10% reduction in hours worked per week, directly impacting service to and support of students.
Elimination of student academic support labs, which would delay student registration, financial aid applications and processing, and increase waiting periods for required
classes, thus delaying time to graduation.

LSU Health Science Center in New Orleans
Because this reduction would need to be taken in the last six months of the fiscal year, it has the equivalent impact of eliminating an average of 264 faculty and staff FTE or almost 12% of HSCNO's workforce.
Eliminate support for area health education centers.
Close undergraduate programs in Cardiopulmonary Science, Medical Lab Technology, Dental Hygiene, Dental Lab Technology, and the B.S. in nursing program. Based on fall 2015 enrollment, this scenario would disrupt the education of 877 students.

LSU Health Science Center in Shreveport
Implement a 53% reduction of Faculty Physicians (170) and 20% reduction of Allied Health Faculty (10) -- plus applicable support staff (15).
Implement a 28% reduction (125 - 35 = 90) of School of Medicine class size, which would revert M.D. training to levels of the first decade of the institution (as class sizes have been greater than 100 since 1979) and 20% reduction of School of Allied Health class size.
Close some Graduate Medical Education / Residency programs, plus reductions in others.
Eliminate specialty health services, returning to only core health services necessary to sustain educational requirements.

LSU Agricultural Center
Declare financial exigency to implement layoffs where possible and allow for furlough of existing employees.
Closure of five research stations.
Elimination of three academic departments. Certain agricultural degree programs would be terminated.
Elimination of the parish-based extension model.
Faculty reductions will mean a loss of approximately $3-6 million in grant funding.

Pennington Biomedical Research Center
Loss of 176 FTE staff with an annualized direct payroll of $12.4 million, encompassing jobs across research focus areas and administrative staff.

The loss of research staff (basic, clinical and population science) would significantly impact and likely cease current research activities for federal grants, and delay or prohibit completion of current studies, jeopardizing at least five large scale federally-funded center-wide program grants with $10.2 million of current year funding and $18 million in funding remaining.

The loss of research staff would essentially eliminate opportunities for new funding due to markedly reduced research capacity. Further, it would significantly hamper our work to support U.S. Department of Defense contracts aimed at warfighter nutrition, valued at $2.5 million for the current fiscal year and totaling more than $77 million to date.

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