Southern University to use 'Renaissance' concept to tackle budget problems


POSTED: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 6:30pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 6:34pm

Southern University Graduates Myron Lawson and Tiffany Sanders are happy to hear about the future of the Baton Rouge campus.

Sanders stated, “I've heard about all of the financial strains that they've had, but I believe in the school, I believe in the mission. “

“We're excited to be able to reconnect and really reclaim our membership,” said Lawson.

University Chancellor and Alexandria native James Llorens says he's determined to keep Southern above water. During his one year as appointed Chancellor, he's dealt with a lot of changes at the college.

"We came in July 1 (2011), we had a budget deficit to deal with the fiscal year starting July 1,” said Llorens. “We had a mid-year budget cut of about $1.6 million. When you add in the budget cuts, the unfunded mandates, the increase in expenditures, we really looked at having to reduce our budget by almost $12 million , just in this fiscal year."

Llorens and school administration have come up with a plan they have called “The Renaissance” - it's a process that will restructure the delivery of academic programs. The Renaissance concept will reduce the number of colleges and departments.

"One of the things that we found it necessary to do was to declare Financial Exigency,” stated Llorens. “That was approved in December, which allowed us to make the necessary changes that we had to make this year, rather than having to stretch it out for another 2 or 3 years."

Llorens expects SU to come out of Financial Exigency by the end of June, and with that comes the possibility of no more furloughs needed for staff. He's looking forward to seeing the school prosper, once again.

"Southern University is positioned to grow. I'll be talking about building our future, building a new Southern University," said Llorens.

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