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Group meets on higher education woes

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Linda Biernacki, president of the Committee of 100, and Dr. Phillip Rozeman talk before the SB Imperative for Higher Education gathering Wednesday Dec. 15, 2010 at Riverview Hall. (Jim Hudelson/The Times)

By Icess Fernandez

Community members gathered Wednesday to hear about the next step in trying to find solutions to higher education’s biggest dilemma — crippling budget cuts.

The meeting was the second given by the Shreveport/Bossier Higher Education Imperative, a group of business owners who have stepped up to find solutions. The meeting was a mix of announcements and rally.

“I guess today was about getting everyone together,” said Peyton Rachal, one of the few students in the audience. “More needs to be done, but there was some promises made for the future.”

Craig Lee, former Shreveport council candidate, said the group was missing a crucial point, a culture change needed to happen first before a solution could be conceived.

“What we have in this state is a devaluation of education in Louisiana,” Lee said. “Unless you eradicate that nothing else matters.”

What’s happened so far?

The Shreveport/Bossier Higher Education Imperative is a group of businesses that have teamed up to find a solution for higher education budget cuts. It had a kickoff in October to rally support for its cause. Part of its mission is to find solutions.

What’s new?

Part of the solution was funding a report by consultant Eva Kline. The purpose was to find the area’s challenges, said Dr. Phillip Rozman, head of the group. The result of the study was a six-point advocacy agenda. The recommendations included establishing a funding floor, or an amount that funding should not fall below.

On Wednesday, the group also announced its new Facebook page and website that will help the group spread its message to more people.

The group also has formed a 20-member committee that would lobby in Baton Rouge during the legislative session on the area’s behalf, Rozeman said. In addition to the committee, five governmental relations experts have pledged to use some of their time in Baton Rouge to lobby on the area’s behalf.

“The movement can’t be a voice of a few people,” Rozeman said. “That won’t work. We need your voice.”

What’s next?

The group is planning another public meeting in January.

Group members also hope to take the model of their plan statewide. Rozeman said there have been business leaders from other areas of the state hoping to take the imperative model for use in their area.


Written by demon53

December 16, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Real Views, william broussard. william broussard said: Group meets on higher education woes: […]

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