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As Genshaft and Alexander talk, Norman plans back-up amendment

USF President Judy Genshaft
 and Sen. JD Alexander came out of their hourlong face-to-face meeting Monday saying there was "a bit more homework to do" when it comes to getting USF a more equitable share of budget cuts. 

Alexander did not say he was backing down on his push to immediately separate USF Poly from the university, nor did he promise to return any money. Yet both said their conversation was fruitful.

Meanwhile, Sen. Jim Norman is still looking into a filing an amendment that would reduce USF's total cut from about $78 million to about $45 million -- what he said would put them on a more even reduction level with other top research universities. Norman said he was waiting to talk to Genshaft about whether she was satisfied with her meeting with Alexander, and if she was anything less than satisfied, he would pursue it.

"I'm going for certainty," Norman said. "I want absolute certainty."

The Senate takes up the budget on Thursday.

He said he also wants the Senate to give USF the $18 million it needs for USF Polytechnic faculty and $6 million for the pharmacy school that it'll have to absorb if the Lakeland branch campus splits off into the state's 12th university, as Alexander wants.

Genshaft, who arrived just before 2 p.m., did not offer the number she was looking for, at least not publicly. She said she was asking for "fairness."

Just before walking into her meeting with Alexander, Genshaft confirmed that it's the first time she and the senate budget chairman have spoken face-to-face since the Board of Governors meeting in November, where she said for the first time that USF wanted USF Poly to remain a part of USF. At that meeting, the governors voted to delay USF Poly's independence by setting several benchmarks. 

"This is our opportunity to talk," Genshaft said. "We hope it's just one of the many dialogues that we have."