If someone asked USF’s administration, “Got money?” the answer would be “Sure, but not enough.” Although the university received more in aid this year than ever before, it still doesn’t have enough, and it’s not from lack of alumni and public donations. It’s because the USF Board of Trustees doesn’t pack as much punch in the state legislature as other universities. Amendment 11 could go a very long way toward rectifying this situation by giving each school a much more even playing field in the funding game. Voting for Amendment 11 would be in the best interests of all USF students.
Currently, each university in Florida is controlled by a Board of Trustees responsible for lobbying the legislature every year for funding. In total, all 11 public universities received $2,554,885,929 in state funding, with schools like FSU and UF leading the funding race. Politics and favorites dominate funds distribution in Tallahassee. Bigger lobbying groups and more alumni in the legislature means more money. USF lacks in both areas.
Amendment 11 would take away decisions on budget allotment for each school from the legislature and put it in the hands of a Board of Governors that, instead of playing politics and favorites, takes into account the needs of each university.
The Board of Trustees might argue that Amendment 11 takes away their power, to make decisions, but essentially, it does not. The Board of Governors would allow all decisions on tuition, scholarships, grants, policy and fiscal spending to remain in the hands of the BOT, but provides a guiding influence. If the BOT decides to cut a program, the BOG wouldn’t step in unless absolutely necessary.
In addition, the Board of Governors would be concerned only with Florida’s university system. The Board of Regents, which was dissolved last year, controlled all Florida education, from kindergarten to graduate school, as does the current Board of Education. Colleges and universities in Florida deserve a separate entity that cares solely for their needs and concerns, which are much different from those of primary education.
So, even though most of you won’t show up at the polls on election day, if you do decide to drag yourself to the Marshall Center, vote yes for Amendment 11.