No surprises, but painful cuts still forecast in UF’s ‘worst-case’ budget plan

Posted April 20, 2009

The University of Florida's “worst-case” budget plan announced Thursday, April 16, held no major surprises for the College of Education, but the final swing of the budget ax still figures to leave some deep cuts in the college's finances and programs.


April 20, 2009



Posted April 20, 2009

The University of Florida’s “worst-case” budget plan announced Thursday, April 16, held no major surprises for the College of Education, but the final swing of the budget ax still figures to leave some deep cuts in the college’s finances and programs.

In a statement posted on his Web site, UF President Bernie Machen emphasized the preliminary nature of the budget proposals for all colleges and units. “These (cuts) are options to consider,” he said. “We do not know how many we will adopt . . . We will not know how much we need to cut our budget until the Legislature finishes its work on May 1.”

UF would save about $75 million if the 10 percent budget cut proposals Machen asked all campus units to prepare were implemented. Other universitywide cost-cutting options could save another $35 million.

UF stuck closely to the College of Education’s original 10-percent budget cut proposal, slicing about $1.4 million from its current yearly allocation of $14.3 million in recurring state funds. That includes transferring about $350,000 in employee expenses to non-state revenue accounts. The college’s itemized portion of UF’s budget cuts can be viewed online by clicking here.

Machen has said that a lesser amount of cuts is likely, but the university must still prepare for deep and permanent cuts in base funding, which covers recurring costs and operating expenses. For the next two years only, the Legislature intends to use federal stimulus dollars “to make up for cuts to our base,” according to his statement.

The college’s educational psychology program is one of several UF academic programs or units facing elimination under the university’s worst-case proposal. The college faces up to five layoffs and employee non-renewals in various units, but the exact number won’t be known until UF’s final budget is approved. Plans also call for merging the college’s higher education administration program with its educational leadership program.

“While the graduate degree programs in education psychology would be eliminated, the faculty members in that program will continue their teaching and research as they have always done,” Dean Catherine Emihovich said. “Graduate students currently in the program would still be able to finish their degrees, but new students interested in educational psychology will need to be admitted to another degree program in the college.”

Machen and the UF Board of Trustees will wait to draft UF’s final budget until lawmakers pass the state budget by May 1, when the current legislative session ends. The process could stretch into mid-May before colleges learn their final budget amount.

“We know substantial budget cuts are inevitable for our college and every campus unit, but that doesn’t lessen the pain of having to consider these difficult options. We take the possible layoff of valued employees and the loss or reduction of academic programs very personally,” Emihovich said. “Our faculty, staff, students and alumni all have stepped forward to face these challenges head-on and make the best of difficult circumstances. We are committed to turning these challenges into opportunities to become even stronger and better than ever.”

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Larry Lansford, COE News & Communications; 352.392.0726, ext. 266;