By Kris Perez - email
BATON ROUGE, LA (KPLC) - The Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) Board of Supervisors recently approved plans to cut $15.6 million from the budget. The approved plans known as the Reduction in Force Layoff Avoidance and/or Layoff Plans evolved as a result of the budget cut approved during the recent Legislative Session for the 2009-10 fiscal year. The plans for the state's community colleges, technical college regions and system office operations will impact 222 positions statewide, including 64 layoffs.
The LCTCS considered each college individually when applying the cuts. By taking into consideration each schools respective needs and unique circumstances, including accreditation matters and low completer programs, the LCTCS hopes it will the colleges to have the ability to continue meeting local and regional workforce needs throughout the state. Budget reductions for the colleges range from 4% to 12%.
LCTCS President Dr. Joe D. May says, "The reduction in force plans recently approved will impact our colleges significantly. However, we approached the cuts in a manner that will hopefully allow our colleges to continue providing the high demand training programs needed for local business and industry partners and to help foster economic recovery throughout the state.Using this method will permit us to begin focusing on the much needed higher education reform in the state, as well as the prioritization and development of programs that will help strengthen Louisiana and best help put citizens to work."
Dr. May added, "We are strongly encouraged by the recent creation of the Postsecondary Education Review Commission by Speaker of the House Jim Tucker. Also, we are optimistic by the charge given to the commission by Governor Jindal to review and analyze Louisiana's educational needs, relevant data, and funding mechanisms. We are confident that the findings of the PERC will lead to a better alignment of funding with high demand programs to provide citizens with the educational attainment necessary to meet the critical needs of our state and regions."
Evidence of higher education reform can be seen in recently passed legislation, in addition to the development of the PERC, that will address the state's articulation needs, making it easier for students to transfer classes from community and technical colleges to four-year institutions. Other improvement measures that came forward during the 2008 legislative session included focus being given to make community and technical colleges a priority, and strengthening them and workforce training efforts.
"Now more than ever, Louisiana needs a well-trained workforce, and the supportive measures that we have seen in the areas of higher education reform so far is encouraging," said Dr. May. "We have a real opportunity before us to implement change, and given the state's current budget restraints, it is even more obvious how much improvement and restructuring is needed."
The approved reduction plans include layoffs, retirements, furloughs, and the elimination of vacant positions.
The distribution of the $15.6 million budget cut is listed below by community college and technical college region.