McNeese braces for more cuts

by Brandon Richards bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC-TV) – McNeese State University will have to make $431,000 of immediate cuts to its current budget as a result of a state fiscal deficit of more than a hundred million dollars.

In early-October, Louisiana colleges and universities were asked to make nearly $35 million in mid-year spending cuts to help the state balance its over-projected budget.

Over the last couple of years, state schools have had to reduce their budgets by more than 20 percent, or $315 million. Over that same period, MSU has had to cut its budget by more than $8 million.

In dealing with this latest round of cuts, MSU officials said the university will take advantage of an ongoing austerity program, so it will not have to layoff employees like other schools. This means the university will cut back on travel and the purchasing of new supplies and equipment. In addition, the administration will continue its hiring freeze.

"Fortunately, we do have a number of vacant positions, positions that have become vacant since the beginning of the fiscal year," said MSU spokeswoman Candace Townsend. "So, we're able to hold those and meet this particular cut."

While the university predicts it will be able to absorb this current mid-year cut, officials are not sure what impact a second round of mid-year cuts, expected in December or January, could have. And to make matters worse, an even larger cut could take place for fiscal year 2012 (which begins on July 1, 2011).

Anticipating these future cuts, the university is currently undergoing a review process, looking at areas that could absorb additional cuts in the future.

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