Conference Update 26 February 2016
The Legislature started Budget Conference Friday evening. The first Education Budget meeting was yesterday afternoon at 4:00 pm and we have had two meetings today. Senate Chairman Don Gaetz and House Chair Erik Fresen are the lead negotiators. There has not been much news to report as there has been very little movement on the Higher Education budget. As of right now only 2 education conference items have been agreed to. The increase in k-12 FEFP (per pupil funding) and property tax relief.
Chairman Gaetz presented a contingency offer (meaning the House must accept certain line item offers or the entire offer is void) to Chair Fresen at the earlier meeting today. Chair Fresen then presented the House offer at 9 pm tonight. Since the House did not agree to all the Senate contingency terms, Chair Gaetz pointed out that the Senate offer is no longer valid and made a motion to "bump" all remaining issues. No higher education conference issues were agreed to and have been "bumped" to the full appropriations committee chairs (Sen. Tom Lee and Speaker Designate Richard Corcoran).
I want to remind you of issues that impact UWF that are still not resolved. The offers below are now void due to the House not accepting the complete Senate contingency offer. However, they give you an idea of the direction things have been moving.
1. The House and the Senate have maintained all of the new recurring UWF issues from last year - Additional Operational Support, Office of Economic Development and Engagement, Physicians Assistants, and Military and Veterans Center in the base. They have not proposed any cuts to UWF funding (most universities currently have something in jeopardy).
2. The Senate has proposed $275M for Performance Funding from university base. Previously, the House and Senate had only proposed $250M from Universities' base.
3. The House accepted the Senate position of adding a metric to performance funding to address the Governor's priority of having a 90% employment rate for each universities top 2 degrees within one year of graduation.
4. The House funded the UWF systemwide initiative for $1.5M for the Integrated Library System. The Senate has not yet accepted.
5. PECO funding has not been addressed yet. We do not expect any movement on the Laboratory Sciences Annex - Building 58 - until near the end of the budget negotiations.
6. The House increased the proposed Distance Learning Fee cap from $15 per credit hour to $30 per credit hour. The Senate has not proposed any caps. (UWF's current fee is $15)
7. The Senate held on the issue of giving BOT the authority to use carryforward funds for capital outlay projects that include significant academic instructional space or for critical deferred maintenance.
7. The House had accepted the Senate offer to create the Distinguished Florida College System Institution Program.
Legislative Update 16 January 2016
Legislative Update 29 January 2016
Committee Update and Priority Bill Report
House Chairman's Education Budget Proposal
Senate Education Appropriations Chairman's Proposal
Senate Education Appropriations Implementing Bill Bullets
Senate Education Appropriations Proviso Language
Legisltive Update 5 February 2016
Legislative Update 11 February 2016
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