As a former head of the University of Louisiana system, Bobby Jindal must know a thing or two about the way public higher education is run in the gret stet.
Unfortunately, this familiarity has not resulted in an increased respect or concern for the state of higher education. Each successive year, Jindal’s budgets have smashed higher education in the mouth, cutting what The Atlantic and the Center for Budget Policy Priorities say is over 42% from the State higher ed budget over the past 5 years. Louisiana has cut the 4th most, by percentage, of any state in the union.
The budget cuts would be bad enough, but Jindal has repeatedly acted as if this isn’t a problem, because (wouldn’t you know it) he can just tax the families and students that attend our public schools. And since many get Federal loans to do so, Jindal is, in essence, bleeding the Federal taxpayers for EVEN MORE MONEY.
But this is typically Jindal. He does the same with health care, transportation and other quiet Federal transfers and entitlements. Jindal would never accept Federal funds publicly. But he will work the system, like a devious drug-addict, to squeeze more Federal dollars into his unbalanced budget.
In the case of (Jindal’s appointed) Louisiana’s higher ed leaders, they might have enough:
For the sixth year in a row, Louisiana’s public colleges and universities are girding for a state budget that once again takes an ax to their funding. Regents say they must brace for $209 million in cuts that are included in Gov. Bobby Jindal’s budget proposal for the coming year and both higher education officials and legislators say they are equally concerned about the governor’s desire to use one-time money to prop up the state’s outlay.
Overall, about two-thirds of the $773.5 million the state has budgeted for higher education will come from nonrecurring revenue, such as proceeds from the future sales of public property. Some of that money has yet to materialize and perhaps never will, angering conservative lawmakers who oppose the use of such fiscal maneuvers and worrying university administrators who are trying to put together reliable spending plans for their campuses.
Meanwhile, the Jindal administration is suggesting that universities raise tuition, and that doing so would mean funding would remain the same as it was after mid-year cuts enacted in December.
According to Jindal’s $24.7 billion budget proposal, the state outlay for higher education in the fiscal year starting July 1 would draw $284.5 million from the state’s general fund, plus $489 million from sources that will be available only once, or expected collections that may not be as much as predicted.
And the kicker:
“All units (of higher education) will be at risk for reduction should any of these funds not materialize,” according to a report from the state Board of Regents, which coordinates all public higher education in Louisiana.
This crisis in higher ed is getting worse. And it isn’t just about the money. Jindal’s running LSU, our flagship university, into the ground. Bob Mann explains why here. LSU’s new president (after Jindal fired the old one, and many others, for complaining about budget cuts) was just foisted upon the school without any public consideration. The LSU Faculty Senate declared that they have no confidence in the Board of Supervisors. Lovely.
The sounds of thousands of razors scraping bumper stickers off of bumpers should be heard all over Louisiana.