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UFF Biweekly EXTRA
United Faculty of Florida -- USF Chapter
19 December 2020
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Budget Cuts and the USF Board

The USF Board of Trustees has scheduled an additional meeting, on January 12, one week after a Board of Trustees Task Force meeting for "Strategic Budget Realignment." This meeting was scheduled only recently - the next regular meeting is on March 9. The agenda for the January 12 meeting has not been posted, but the Budget Planning Timeline had said that the "Strategic Realignment Plans" would be presented to the Board in January, so it seems likely that those plans are on the agenda.

As the Administration has referred to budget cut decisions in context of Strategic Realignment, it seems likely that proposed cuts to colleges and programs will be on the agenda at that meeting.

The Board held a Budget Workshop on December 11, and most of the meeting Materials concerned USF's metrics and unit-by-unit finances, including allocation of Education & General (E & G) funding. But starting on page 70, there is some information on the current financial predicament. The Materials described several problems:

  • Short term problems. In reaction to the pandemic, Governor De Santis is holding back 6 % of state appropriations ($ 25.9 million) made by the Legislature. In addition, the Board of Governors - which oversees the entire State University System - instructed universities to prepare for several scenarios, including an additional 2.5 % cut ($ 10.8 million) this fiscal year. Assuming that the governor never delivers the allocated funds and assuming that this additional 2.5 % cut occurs, the result is an 8.5 % cut in state funding, or $ 36.7 million.
  • Long term problems. Universities tend to go for long-range planning, but state allocations shift with the winds, and USF has been relying on several non-recurring funding sources to cover recurring expenses. One of these - carrying forward funds unused the previous year into the next year - is going to be restricted, and the Materials warn that bonding agencies may get nervous if USF runs low on cash. So the Materials warn of a $ 30.8 million deficit in recurring funding.
Altogether, that's $ 67.5 million annually.

Of course, a lot of this is hypothetical. We do not know what assistance the federal government will provide to the states this spring, we do not know how much the economy will rebound next fall after much of the population has been (hopefully) vaccinated, and we do not know how the Legislature will act during the next session - which starts in March. Moreover, as the USF Faculty Senate Executive Committee's letter to the Board observed, we do not have a current strategic plan: what we have is the old 2013 - 2018 plan. This means that program cuts may be considered when the Board and the Administration do not have a cogent, coherent, and publicly enunciated view of the future. This deficiency is due to another legislative brainstorm - consolidation - so USF would have legitimate grounds for requesting legislative relief. (Whether we would get it depends on how reasonable legislators are.)

We encourage all faculty to get involved in January.

  • On January 5, from 1 pm to 3 pm, the Board of Trustees Task Force will meet to address Strategic Budget Realignment; more information, including the livestream link, is posted at the UFF USF website.
  • On January 8, from 12 pm to 1:30 pm, the UFF USF Chapter will meet, and on the agenda - among other things - is USF's budget crunch; more information, including how to get an invitation link, is posted on the UFF USF website.
  • On January 12, from 12:30 pm to 2 pm, the Board of Trustees will meet to discuss Stategic Budget Realignment; more information, includine the livestream link, is posted at the UFF USF website.
The time to influence decisions is before they are made.

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Every year, the West Central Florida Federation of Labor conducts a toy drive for the Children's Home Society of Florida. The pandemic precludes collecting toys this year, but there are still children having a lonely holiday season, so the Federation of Labor is conducting a Holiday Gift Card Toy Drive this year. To donate a gift card, go to the Toy Drive Site. And Happy Holidays! (And safely!)

USF United Support Fund for Food Pantries

Many of our students are struggling during this crisis, and the USF Foundation is supporting the USF Food Pantries to help out. They are accepting non-perishable donations, but one can also make monetary donations for the pantries at St. Petersburg, Sarasota / Manatee, and Tampa.


Notice change in schedule: Chapter Meeting Friday, January 8, at 12 noon, via Zoom: for an invitation, contact the Chapter Secretary.

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About this broadcast: This Newsletter was broadcast from uff.ourusf.org, hosted at ICDsoft.com, and is intended for all UFF USF members.

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