Putting Education Reform To The Test

Fla. Senate Recommends USF Get the Biggest Budget Cut

The University of South Florida is holding an emergency meeting today after a recommendation to disproportionately cut USF’s budget, compared to other state Universities.

Of the $400 million recommended to be cut from the entire state university system, $79 million would come from USF, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

The budget recommendation comes after Polytechnic has been trying to split from USF to become its own, independent University.

Another $25 million would be held in “contingency,” pending USF’s cooperation in immediately severing its branch campus in Lakeland. That move, pushed hard by Senate budget chairman JD Alexander, would require giving the new “Florida Polytechnic University” all USF Polytechnic’s money, property, foundation dollars and more with USF retaining all USF Poly’s faculty and staff. Absorbing all those people is expected to cost another $16 million to the university, said USF Provost Ralph Wilcox. 

And then there’s USF’s pharmacy school. Currently housed at the main Tampa campus, the school was intended to eventually move to USF Poly. As such, its funding comes out of USF Poly’s $28 million budget. Last year that was $6 million, which USF spent on new faculty and staff. Under the Senate budget, USF would keep the school and those people but not receive any more funding, Wilcox said.

“It is just an inexplicable inequity,” Wilcox said.

The dispute now is over how fast the split between USF and Polytechnic should happen. Senate budget chairman J.D. Alexander wants it to happen right away. USF and the Board of Governors say that if the split has to happen, it should happen only after Polytechnic meets certain standards. 


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