The Louisiana Senate has approved the $39 billion dollar state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. This budget includes teacher pay raises of $1500 dollars for all teachers.

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But the budget also includes funding for LSU Shreveport and the local medical school. This money is much needed for improvements at both campuses. Funding for LSUS in the current budget is between 4 and 5 million dollars for infrastructure improvements. The overall budget includes money for northwest Louisiana for roads, bridges, infrastructure and education including K-12 and higher education.

But another idea that is causing lots of discussion today is a proposal to move LSU Shreveport to property around the LSU Medical School. This idea was first discussed by LSU System President Dr. William Tate. He has said this might be the best solution for the two schools in the Shreveport area.

This proposal is in the very early stages and it would take separate legislation to accomplish. It would also take at least ten years to accomplish. Senator Barry Milligan says this could rejuvenate that entire part of town along Kings Highway at Linwood.

State Representative Cedric Glover tells KEEL News:

This is not just the physical relocation of the campus, but more importantly, the change of the role, scope and mission of LSUS and LSUHSC-Shreveport into a comprehensive research institution focused on science and healthcare from the undergraduate levels all the way to the MD and PhD levels.

Here is a statement issued by LSUS Chancellor Dr. Larry Clark:

 

  • President Tate is offering an idea, not a plan, to create an enhanced biomedical education complex. It is borne of his commitment to strengthening LSUS and LSUHS’s impact in Northwest Louisiana. Both campuses would continue to operate as independent universities, with no reduction of academic programs.
  • Most importantly, there will be no adverse changes now or in the near future at LSUS for our students, staff, or faculty. In contrast, we look forward to announcing some major new opportunities for LSUS resulting from significant legislative support and/or major advancement gifts.

As Chancellor, I am excited about the potential benefits of bold ideas for the future of our region, but I want to reiterate that currently these are only ideas. I welcome any thoughts or comments that you may have.

Click here to see Dr. Clark's full statement.

The budget approved by the senate also includes $300 million dollars for a new bridge across the Mississippi River at Baton Rouge. The Governor wanted $500 million dollars for that project.

The budget bill passed in the Senate 38-0 and now goes back to the House for approval of changes made in the Senate.

Under this budget package, school support staff would get $750 dollar pay raises.

Louisiana has higher tax dollars coming in, about $350 million more this fiscal year and we have also received $1.4 billion from federal pandemic money. We also have a $700 million surplus from this years' budget.

This legislative session must end on Monday June 6.

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