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USF looks to spend state dollars on instruction

The USF Board of Trustees plans to discuss and approve the university’s 2004-05 legislative budget request at a conference call meeting today.

The Board, which already submitted documentation to the Florida Board of Education (FBOE) on its budget requests for the fiscal year of 2004-05, will be receiving a 3.8 percent increase in state-appropriated funds, or about $11 million more than in the 2003-04 fiscal year.

Carl Carlucci, USF chief financial officer and executive vice president, said after the Board approves the budget, members of the BOT can make decisions and look at specific issues to see where the “new money,” or the $11 million, will be spent.

“They are still negotiating,” Carlucci said.

However, Carlucci added that USF President Judy Genshaft wants to do what the FBOE/Board of Governors suggests the State University System to do and that is to spend more state money on instruction.

“The state looks at where each university spends their state-appropriated funds,” Carlucci said. “We want to try to get more money into the classroom, because the state will give more money back to the university the following year if that money is used for instruction.”

According to the BOG Web site, “If the university receives enrollment-growth funding through a legislative appropriation and spends that funding per the cost factors (such as instruction, advising, academic administration and university support), the expenditures per FTE (full-time equivalent) student should increase.”

The BOG goes on to state on its Web site, “If the university spends the funds on non-instructional activities, such as museums, public service or radios, their cost per FTE student would not increase.”

But in order to give more money to instruction, Carlucci said the BOT is going to have to find the money in other budgets.

Carlucci said one way is to look where the state-appropriated dollars are being used to help pay for non-instructional things, such as electric bills or insurance.

“We need to use those dollars for instruction,” he said. “Those budgets would then have to use general revenue dollars to pay for electricity.”

In addition, Carlucci said a plan was put together by financial officers and approved by administration to reallocate dollars toward instruction from non-academic areas of the university. According to Carlucci, the plan asks those divisions to come up with a 5 percent assessment of either a department’s E&G (endowment and grant) funding or its average gross revenue of two fiscal years. The 5 percent assessment is to be reallocated into instruction, which would pay for a proposed faculty salary increase.

Last month Genshaft sent out a proposal to the BOT and offered to raise faculty pay 12 percent during the next three years to start an increase in salaries that are behind other Florida universities’. The raises would benefit as many as 1,500 employees, but the proposal still awaits approval by USF’s faculty union. The raises are expected to cost USF $10 million the first year, said Michelle Carlyon, director of media relations.

There is no timetable for when the negotiations between the Faculty Union and the BOT would be finished, Carlyon said. And the final resolution of Carlucci’s plan is pending those negotiations, he said.

Roy Weatherford, USF’s Faculty Union president, was unable to be reached for comment Wednesday night.

Under the pay increase proposal, a 5.5 percent increase would be handed out on Aug. 7, but would reach a total of 7.5 percent after being combined with a one-time, state-authorized $1,000 bonus. In the second and third years, 3 percent would be distributed.

However, staff employees face only about a 2 percent increase in salary, and some may not receive any increase, according to e-mails that have been circulating the university in the past few days.

The e-mails express concern about the state of morale at USF, including the way the university plans to reallocate money to pay for the salary increases. One e-mail states that the small salary increase for USF staff is mediocre compare to the 22.5 percent salary increase that Carlucci received this past year. Carlucci’s salary went from $211,400 to $259,000, an annual increase of $47,600. Carlucci had no comment when asked about his salary increase.

“I don’t know; I haven’t seen the e-mails,” he said.

The reallocation of a 5 percent assessment also may result in layoffs in certain areas. Carlucci said it would be up to the individual departments to decide after going over their budget plans.

“That is up to them,” he said. “But the whole purpose of the plan was to put more money into instruction. That is what the president and the provost are trying to accomplish.”

Renu Khator, USF provost, said she and the administration are trying to find state dollars to put toward faculty.

“It is essential in both quality and quantity that the faculty are needed for the instruction the students deserve in the classroom,” Khator said.

Khator added that she would do everything necessary to make sure the faculty is at USF to teach.

Carlyon added that Genshaft is dedicated to improving faculty salaries.

“She wants to see the university grow,” Carlyon said.