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BOT approves $36.7 million budget reduction plan

In a 10-minute meeting, the USF Board of Trustees approved the Strategic Budget Realignment Plan, which will cut 8.5% of the university’s budget in the coming fiscal year and be implemented July 1. ORACLE PHOTO/LEDA ALVIM

The USF Board of Trustees (BOT) unanimously approved the proposed Strategic Budget Realignment Plan for the 2021-22 fiscal year in a 10-minute meeting Tuesday afternoon. The plan will reduce $36.7 million in university spending as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is an important day for the University of South Florida,” said USF President Steven Currall. “This is an opportunity for the board to approve the plan that we presented to you now and to [BOT] workshops, and it’s really an important day also for the stewardship of our financial resources.”

Although the plan has been approved, Currall will have some authority delegated to him by the BOT to make changes to the funding allocations in the budget plan throughout the year, according to USF General Counsel Attorney Gerard Solis.

The changes may only be made if they abide by USF’s “General Delegation Policy,” which states that a change in the plan costing more than $1 million must have the approval of the finance committee chair, Trustee Michael Griffin. If a proposed change is more than $2 million of the budgetary plan, then it will require the approval of the entire finance committee. The change must also not result in program closures, degree eliminations or layoffs of permanent faculty.

The Strategic Budget Realignment Plan was also presented at two Strategic Budget Realignment workshops held Dec. 11 and Jan. 8, where BOT members discussed the implications of the 8.5% cut in state funds in the coming year. While the cuts will not result in layoffs of permanent faculty, departments across the university will experience a reduction and challenges in maintenance of current services. This will also result in a larger ratio of students to instructors in classrooms and an increased workload for some faculty.

The budget cuts will be implemented effective July 1 for the 2021-22 fiscal year.