Thursday, March 08, 2012

Tell me lies, but hold me tight




With "leadership" like this -- and, believe me, system president John Lombardi is how most "leadership" ends up at Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College -- the Gret Stet generally gets the kind of higher education its tarnished reputation can be proud of.

I read the Times-Picayune article below, and I wonder whether folks here in the Gret White Nawth might believe that my degree is from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

NAH . . . I'm not nearly well-educated enough.
Higher education leaders didn't testify Thursday morning as Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration presented its 2012-13 state spending plan. But, if a memo from LSU System President John Lombardi to his fellow LSU executives is a reliable forecast, then lawmakers and the public will hear no complaints from the state's largest university system.

The email, sent hours before the Joint Budget Committee convened and later obtained by The Times-Picayune, offers an inside view of the political machinations that precede the public budget process. And it parallels Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater's emphasis that the budget "protects essential services" in higher education and health care.

Lombardi did note some of the budget maneuvers that are part of a long-term negative trend for higher education: Whatever the bottom line, state taxpayers play a smaller and smaller role each year in direct appropriations to LSU and the rest of the higher education system.

To support claims that higher education is spare drastic downsizing, the budget counts tuition increases in the system's total state budget allotment.

The budget includes tuition paid through the college scholarship program, TOPS, and new tuition revenue from recent hikes the Legislature allowed schools to make for the upcoming school year.

It's the same budget framing the administration used in recent years to say they protected higher education while using grants from the 2009 federal stimulus act to prop up colleges and universities. But Lombardi did not complain, and he suggested that Jindal expects the entire higher education hierarchy to follow suit.

"In exchange for this good treatment," Lombardi wrote, "the administration would appreciate" higher leaders "recognize that the budget gives higher ed special treatment and thank the administration for their attention and concern for higher ed."

He said the administration wanted support for Jindal's plans to overhaul parts of the state retirement system, proposals that include increased worker contributions, effectively the payroll taxes for those employees since they don't participate in Social Security. Further, Lombardi said the administration preferred "coordinated" public relations messages so "all units of higher education respond in the same generally positive and supportive way to the Administration's efforts." That's also the preferred strategy, Lombardi suggested, of the LSU Board of Supervisors, which a Jindal-appointed majority now controls.
TIGERS put on the red light. Tigers put on the red light. Tigers put on the red light. Tigers put on the red light.

Tigers put on the red light.

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