UF budget for fiscal year 2008-09 to be reduced by $47 million

Published: May 5 2008

Category:Note This

Letter from J. Bernard Machen, President
5/5/2008

In response to the budget adopted last Friday by the Florida Legislature, we are today announcing cuts that correspond to declining state revenues.

Some of those budget reductions are outlined below. I asked each vice president, dean and director to reduce spending by 6 percent for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Taken together, these cuts total $47 million.

The cuts are the result of weeks of very difficult discussions and decisions at the college and administrative unit levels. Before we get into the specifics of the cuts, I want to commend our deans, vice presidents and directors for the leadership they have demonstrated. They worked very hard to minimize the impacts, but clearly we cannot take reductions this large without making difficult choices.

UF’s General Revenue budget is $69 million less than it was a year ago. This number includes $22 million UF cut in October, and $47 million we are now cutting to reflect legislative reductions made in March that we covered with one-time funds, as well as next year’s budget.

While the Legislature appropriates additional funds from increased lottery revenues, lottery sales have not been increasing as anticipated and we have no assurance these funds will materialize. We also don’t know if additional cuts may become necessary later in the year if state revenues continue to fall.

The budget cuts impact nearly every part of the university, although we are exempting university libraries and security programs and plan to fund faculty promotional raises.

The criteria for deciding budget reductions included protecting the university’s core missions of education, research and service, the goals of the university and the needs of students and the state. Administrators have needed to eliminate or reduce services and allocate resources more efficiently.

Some degree programs and courses are slated to be eliminated; however, students currently in these degree programs will be able to complete them. In addition, the university is decreasing funding for research and downsizing or restructuring some departments.

Accordingly, the budget eliminates approximately 430 positions, resulting in a lay off of approximately 20 faculty and 118 staff members. The remaining positions are currently vacant or will be funded by sources other than state dollars. The layoffs do not affect tenured faculty.

In addition, the university will reduce undergraduate enrollment by 4,000 over four years. This reduction began with the decrease of transfer students by 1,000 for next year.

Because much of the money the university receives from the state is dedicated to paying salaries, the elimination of positions is often the only option for a college or administrative unit to achieve the required cuts. Colleges and administrative offices with the largest number of employees will see the most impact.

The University of Florida Foundation also is reducing spending and will no longer receive any state funding.

A list of reductions is posted on the UF President’s Web site at www.president.ufl.edu.

The budget will be presented to the Faculty Senate Steering Committee on May 8 at 3 p.m. for faculty review. The Faculty Senate has a Web site at http://www.senate.ufl.edu/budget/response-form.html for faculty questions and comments. The budget reductions will be finalized and presented to the Board of Trustees as a recommendation for their endorsement during a conference call the week of May 12.

Official lay-off notices will go out to affected faculty and staff following the Board of Trustees meeting. Professionals from the Office of Human Resources will be available to assist those personnel in exploring other employment opportunities and benefits. Terms of separation vary depending upon classification of the eliminated positions. For more information, go to: http://www.hr.ufl.edu/emp_relations/layoff/default.asp

The timing of today’s announcement was based on the Legislature’s final approval of the FY 08-09 budget. That budget goes into effect on July 1, requiring swift action by the university to reduce spending.

We are in a very difficult time and every member of the faculty, student body and staff will face hardship as a result. I regret that we must lay off anyone, and we will do all we can to support our colleagues during this difficult process. It is my hope that we will come out of this period as quickly as possible and that the University of Florida will emerge strong. Meanwhile, I ask your help in maintaining excellence in education, research and service.

Category:Note This