USF calling emergency meeting to address Florida Senate’s proposed 60% budget cut

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The University of South Florida trustees have called an emergency meeting this evening to address a Florida Senate proposal to cut USF’s state funding by nearly 60 percent.

Under the proposal, state revenue going to USF Tampa would drop from $178 million to $74 million, says USF’s early analysis of budget language approved on Friday night.

The cut to the state university system budget would total about $400 million. USF’s percentage loss is the highest. The University of Florida’s cut amounts to about 26 percent; Florida State’s is 22 percent.

The state funding makes up more than half of what the universities have to spend, with money also coming in from other sources, such as tuition.

“Obviously it’s a devastating cut,” said USF spokesman Michael Hoad. Officials are in the process of figuring out what would have to go – faculty, programs, departments – to make the budget numbers.

“We’re in the process of putting together a plan to let the community, faculty, staff, alumni, know what this means,” said USF spokeswoman Lara Wade-Martinez.

The legislative proposal, set to be heard in the Senate Budget Committee on Wednesday, would also pile new expenses on USF in the process of creating the new Florida Polytechnic University.

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.