The retiring president of the University of Louisiana System says higher education's ongoing budget woes will make it harder to attract his replacement and were one of the reasons he decided to leave the job.
Randy Moffett's last day was Friday after four decades in higher education. He says the cuts complicated efforts of the state's largest university system to maintain a focus on increased performance.
Despite the problematic financial picture, Moffett says he's optimistic the UL System will attract a quality leader looking for a challenge.
The University of New Orleans is cutting $12 million from its budget through a combination of early retirements and the elimination of vacant positions to offset reductions by the state.
UNO said Tuesday that about 25 faculty members and 28 staff members will be offered "incentivized retirements," and the university will eliminate 30 vacant faculty positions, five terminal faculty contracts, 26 graduate assistants and 16 non-classified staff.
UNO President Peter Fos says the moves will save the university $3.3 million.
The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee is asking for an attorney general's opinion about whether Gov. Bobby Jindal can close a state-run mental health facility in St. Tammany Parish without legislative approval.
Sen. Jack Donahue, a Republican from Mandeville, says closing Southeast Louisiana Hospital in a parish that has one of the state's highest suicide rates is unwise. He's pushing to keep the facility open.
Louisiana's health agency must save $56 million on drugs for Medicaid patients to help balance the state budget, but doesn't yet have a final plan for doing that.
A top aide to health Secretary Bruce Greenstein say the changes will take effect Oct. 1, and emergency rules will be published in September.
Legislators, pharmacy interests and others tell The Advocate they are concerned about the lack of transparency and what they call a rush to make changes that need caution to avoid damaging health care. Consumer groups worry about restricted drug access.
Colleges and universities across northeastern Louisiana have seen decreases in summer enrollment this year. Officials believe it's likely because of the economy and the loss of certain federal grant funding offered during the summer.
Summer Pell Grants, which provided need-based grants to low-income undergraduate and certain post-baccalaureate students, were eliminated from last year's federal budget because of financial constraints.
Gov. Bobby Jindal says he's confident LSU's network of public hospitals and clinics will protect health care services, despite cuts that strip a quarter of the system's funding.
Lawmakers have said they don't understand how the university-run health care system can shrink its budget by $329 million this year without shutting facilities that take care of the poor and uninsured.
But Jindal on Tuesday told reporters that "LSU is well on their way to presenting a plan that's going to protect critical services."
The LSU Athletic Department is making a $4 million contribution to the university to help with budget challenges in the 2012-13 fiscal year.
The transfer is the single largest contribution from Athletics to Academics in school history. Director of Athletics Joe Alleva says being able to make such a contribution is a "real credit to LSU's fans and alumni who support the Tigers."