Bill to Fund Community College Construction Passes Louisiana Senate Committee, Despite University Objections

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A bill to finance construction projects at Louisiana community and technical colleges passed a Senate finance committee Monday, but leaders at local four-year universities say the legislation is harmful to other higher education institutions around the state.

Just hours after the state Senate finance committee passed Senate Bill 204, a University of Louisiana System board member called the bill "horrible" Monday afternoon.

The legislation, sponsored by Robert Adley, R-Benton, allows the Louisiana Community and Technical College System to issue bonds to fund about $250 million worth of projects at community colleges to promote workforce and technical education.

It also allows the community college system to bypass the state's usual process and take funds that could go to other colleges around the state, UL System board member Winfred Sibille said during the UL system's committee meeting Monday.

"This is a horrible, horrible, bill," Sibille said. "If we don't do something about it, it's going to pass." Sibille said the bill would ultimately take funds away from all of the UL System's nine campuses.

Sibille said it's no doubt that community and technical colleges need facilities but he does not think this bill is the way to provide them.

The bill passed 8-3 in the Senate Finance Committee and heads next to the Senate floor.

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