Sowela Community College faces budget cuts

By Crystal Price - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Sowela Community College is one of many community and technical colleges in Louisiana pinching its pennies as the state is cutting almost $57 million from colleges statewide.

The declining state revenue in Louisiana is forcing the Louisiana Community and Technical College System to prepare for a 32 percent budget reduction for the upcoming fiscal year.

Dr. Joe D. May, LCTCS president, addressed the Sowela Foundation Board Wednesday morning on planning for the technical budget plan for the next fiscal year.  Dr. May stressed that he plans to make cuts without cutting courses, programs, or services from the students.

"We're not wanting to cut the classes, but they may see a difference in times," said Dr. May. "We may find that we can't do both day and evening classes like we did in the past."

Students attending Sowela might see a slight hike in tuition costs in addition to the class time changes next school year as well.

"We're very mindful of keeping tuition as low as possible, but we want to make sure that we have classes available," said Dr. May.

Dr. May said that he other members of LCTCS are looking at ways to increase efficiency in the budget to generate some additional revenue.

One way the LCTCS president plans to increase efficiency is through using the $13.5 million worth of efficiency savings for the next fiscal year's budget.

"Now that doesn't offset a cut but it means that it gives us more money that we can put into classes and help keep enrollment up," said Dr. May.

Dr. May added that another area where money is trickling out of the budget is through students who use Pell grants and refuse to pay tuition and other fees.

"The money they already get for that purpose would go to help ensure that we could keep the classes open and meet their needs," said Dr. May.

LCTCS will continue putting together the budget plan for the next fiscal year. The final budget will go into effect in June 2011.

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