From the desk of President Leslie K. Guice
Wrapping up the year in capital city
This has been another emotionally draining week for me, but as I write this today, I am elated that the House has passed the revenues that are needed to fund higher education at the same level as last year and to fully fund the TOPS program as well as some other critical services for the state. The Senate is expected to approve the House bills on Sunday and then the Regents and Supervisors will provide us with our budget numbers so we can finalize our budgets for the year that begins July 1. Special thanks to our legislators and Governor who dedicated all of the time and effort through the regular session and three special sessions to arrive at the budget that keeps us moving forward.
Following a visit to our Bossier Center on Monday to meet with the Caddo Parish Schools leadership, I spent most of my time this week in Baton Rouge. Much of my time was spent in the legislature talking to representatives and senators about the critical importance of sustaining higher education funding, something that I also included in a letter to the editor of multiple newspapers this week. Several of the legislators and staff of the legislature have children at Tech, and I always enjoy hearing about how they are doing. I even had the opportunity to recruit a few more students to Tech during this time.
I also enjoyed spending some time with the other presidents and staff of our UL System. Our Board of Regents and UL System Board of Supervisors met this week, and many of our Board members joined us in the halls of the legislature. For much of the week, the pathway for additional revenue needed to fund higher ed was very uncertain. And when I left Baton Rouge this morning, things were still deadlocked.
But a compromise was finally struck, and the House approved the bills for forwarding to the Senate late this afternoon. We still have a lot of work ahead to get higher ed funding to where it needs to be, but I am grateful for the second consecutive year of stability in funding and am optimistic that the future for higher ed, for our students, and for our citizens is great.
My biggest regret for the week was missing the student Orientation session on campus. I understand that we had our largest turnout ever, and I know that the quality of the incoming students continues to be very high.
I look forward to catchup meetings this next week with my Deans and other administrators as we all prepare for the Fall.
Here are a few of my favorite pics for the week: