Saturday, February 18, 2012
Budget Update from the President
Feb. 17, 2012
Dear Campus Community,
There are less than three weeks left in the Florida Legislative Session, and I want to bring you up to date on current developments concerning the budget.
The House and Senate have released their respective budgets and are finalizing them within the next week. The next step is for each body to pass their respective budgets and go into conference negotiations to work toward a final version. If this goes according to schedule, the budgets will be complete by the scheduled legislative closing date of March 9. The budget will then proceed to the governor for final signature in May.
At present, the House proposes a 9.5 percent reduction in state funds to our FY 2011/12 base budget. This equates to a $5 million permanent reduction in recurring funds to UWF for FY2012/13. The Senate proposes a 16.7 percent reduction in state funds. This amounts to a proposed $10 million non-recurring reduction to UWF for FY 2012/13. The Senate based their reductions on the belief that universities could tap carry forward funds from this year to cover the loss.
The House proposes an 8 percent across the board base tuition increase and a 7 percent differential tuition increase, and they are including these amounts in their calculation of our base budget. The Senate proposes no base increase, but includes a 15 percent differential tuition increase in the calculation of our base budget.
The university can take a number of approaches to dealing with these reductions. In past years, we created budget reduction scenarios at appropriate percentages based on possible outcomes in the legislature. We can do that again this year.
However, there may be other appropriate methods of planning and preparation, and we are seeking your input. If you have ideas about how to best mitigate these reductions, please email email@example.com.
As you consider suggestions, please keep the following guidelines and facts in mind:
· UWF has taken 30 percent, or $21.8 million, in reductions of state funding over the past five years. Yet, at the same time, we've grown our student body by 20 percent.
· Our growth helps us reduce dependency on state funding and positions us to better take control of our own future. In fact, because of our growth, we made $6.62 million of investments last year in our strategic priorities, in part allowing us to hire 47 faculty members.
· More than $800,000 of our growth dollars funded a 1.7 percent salary increase for faculty and staff, and I hope to do more for our faculty and staff this year.
It is for these reasons that we will not simply plug our growth funds into the budget to avoid the state-mandated cuts. Our environment demands that we be strategic and not simply maintain status quo.
I invite you to engage in the dialogue about how to best prepare for these reductions, as well as how to properly invest our growth funds. The vice presidents will conduct budget exercises in their respective divisions to explain the process to request growth funds and how to meet potential reductions in recurring funds.
This year, we will be piloting use of a Strategic Planning and Resource Allocation (SPARA) form for requesting growth funds to invest. These forms will come to the vice presidents, who will prepare a draft budget for my consideration. Next year, we plan to use a budgeting process that will focus on alignment with our updated 2012-17 Strategic Plan.
While we are once again facing budget reductions, let's remember our significant successes in some of the most difficult economic times of our lifetimes. Please keep abreast of the legislative happenings on our website at http://uwf.edu/govrelations. Also, I look forward to receiving your input and seeing you at our annual budget town hall this spring.
In the meantime, let's keep our focus on educating our students, and we will prevail.