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Story Archives: Acting in lieu of whining
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|Acting in lieu of whining|
Interim ULM President Stephen Richters should be commended for taking a proactive step to save the beleaguered institution some money in these tight economic times.
Effective June 30, ULM shed some 29 employees who were responsible for taking care of all campus buildings, equipment and vehicles. The 29 employees either resigned, retired or were outright laid off.
The move will save ULM some $1 million annually. A $1 million reduction in expenditures at ULM is not a great deal of money, but it was a step in the right direction for ULM to cope with what the future may hold.
Richters acted knowing the state Legislature may reduce appropriations for all publicly funded higher education institutions, including ULM, in the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Reductions in state funding could run 15 percent to 35 percent.
The higher education community throughout Louisiana has dealt with funding reductions in the hundreds of millions of dollars over the past couple of years. The loss in revenues can be attributed declines in tax revenues the state has collected in light of a lackluster economy.
The state's projected budget deficit for 2011-2012 fiscal year alone stands at roughly $2 billion.
Let's remember that ULM plays a dual role in northeastern Louisiana. Not only does the school serve as a sound option for area students to pursue college degree, the university also employs hundreds of people and generates millions of dollars for the northeastern Louisiana economy. Let's not forget as well about the economic impact ULM students create when they're in school in Monroe. It is significant.
ULM, though, is no different than any other higher education institution in Louisiana these days, meaning ULM must learn to operate with less revenue than it has in the past. That's the case because the state simply does not have the means to fund higher education at levels it funded it in the not-too-distant past.
Several days ago, LSU Chancellor Mike Martin sent an email to the LSU community bemoaning comments a Jindal administration official made concerning state funding for higher education in the 2011-2012 fiscal year. The Jindal administration official, Paul Rainwater, warned that major funding reductions were on the horizon.
Martin's response was a classic example of what many higher education officials have done for years in Louisiana whenever cuts in state funding are mentioned. He whined about it instead of acknowledging a problem existed and quickly offering a plan on how to deal with it.
Richters took a different approach.
It's probably a safe assumption Richters is not happy about making budget cuts at ULM, but at least he took a proactive move to help the university cope with an unpleasant situation.
|Frank Morris Murder Series|