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USF gets disproportionate cut in Senate budget recommendations

The University of South Florida is reeling today after the Senate's budget recommendations over the weekend revealed a disproportionate cut to the school compared to other universities. 

Of the $400 million recommended to be cut from the entire state university system, $79 million of that -- or 20 percent -- would come from USF.

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. 

USF's Board of Trustees is holding an emergency meeting this afternoon to try to make sense all the implications. 

Meanwhile, USF Poly's faculty are up in arms about the budget conforming bill to split off USF Poly right away. (See attached letter).  Download FSLettertoLynnSigned[1]