USF budget cut by another 4 percent

The Florida Legislature announced a 4 percent decrease from state and college budgets last week. However, the University has prepared for the cut and now has to concentrate on the possibility of more deductions.

“We held back money this year in anticipation of another 4 percent,” said Senior Vice Provost Dwayne Smith.

In July, the state reduced the University’s budget by 5.8 percent.

USF has now lost a total of 15.3 percent since fall 2007, which amounts to $52 million.

The current budget cut shouldn’t be felt by students, said Jacquie Cash, communications and marketing manager for the Provost’s Office.

“When we held back more than was required, there was concern on why we were doing that,” Cash said. “We had a good feeling that there was going to be a midyear cut.”

USF was one of the few schools to prepare for the cuts, Smith said.

However, the University must prepare for the next budget cuts.

Cash and Smith both compared the future cuts to hurricanes.

“It’s like asking whether there is going to be a hurricane next year,” Smith said. “I don’t know.”

Smith said the University’s concern is planning for a future with further budget cuts.

“There will be fairly serious changes,” he said. “It won’t hurt students who are already here as much as it will admissions.”

Cash said she didn’t know how students will feel the cuts for the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

The biggest impact of the budget crisis has been bigger classes, Cash said. However, other universities have gotten rid of degree programs and tenure faculty, which are the heart of a 
university, she said.

It is unknown when the budget cuts will end.

“The turnaround is not expected for a number of months,” Smith said. “My guess is the national economy will have to turn around before ours (Florida’s) does.”

Smith also said these issues are not only affecting Florida schools. Major business and mom-and-pop stores everywhere are grappling with them.

“The pain is widespread,” he said.