Dr. Sally Clausen, Louisiana’s higher education commissioner, has voluntarily reduced her own salary from $377,000 to $199,000, effective when the new fiscal year begins July 1. In addition, she is also giving up her vehicle and house allowances, confirms Meg Casper, associate commissioner of public affairs for the Louisiana Board of Regents. “This was a decision she made on her own given the current fiscal challenges facing higher education in our state,” says Casper, noting that Clausen is not making any official statement or comment on her decision at this time.

Not that there is much more to say. Clausen’s decision to cut her own pay by more than half is a big enough statement about her thoughts on how we can spread the higher education cuts across the board.

Clausen’s salary will fall from $377,000 a year to $199,000. Minus the $12,000 car allowance and $36,000 housing allowance, that’s a total $226,000 pay cut. Annual pay raises are frozen for nearly all state government workers because of the state’s devastating budget problems.

“Higher education’s state budget has been reduced by about $280 million in the past 17 months, which is more than 20 percent of state funding for colleges,” says Casper. “The upcoming budget does not include any cuts to higher education so that we can prepare for the anticipated loss of an additional $250 million in FY 12 when the federal stimulus money stops.”  

As far as we know, Clausen is the only high-ranking state official to volunteer a pay cut. Any other takers?

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