PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island officials have chosen Louisiana's former higher education commissioner  to lead the state's college system.

The Rhode Island Board of Education picked Jim Purcell on Monday night for the newly created job of commissioner of post-secondary education.

The 55-year-old Purcell was Louisiana's higher education commissioner for three years. He decided not to seek a new contract this year, after Gov. Bobby Jindal's staff unsuccessfully tried to get him fired last year because of his complaints about $700 million in budget cuts to higher education.

Purcell will be negotiating his new contract. Officials advertised the salary at $135,000 to $175,000 a year. He had earned $275,000 annually in Louisiana.

Rhode Island's higher education system includes the University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and the Community College of Rhode Island.


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