USF budget improves; “good things are happening at USF”
Following an outpouring of support from the Tampa Bay Partnership, business leaders and people across the region, the Florida Senate made significant reductions today to the original $103 million budget cut leveled on USF.
A series of budget amendments allocated $3 million for the USF College of Pharmacy, $10 million for the “teach-out” of USF Polytechnic students towards USF degrees, and about $33 million in additional dollars to the USF Tampa campus. Should the “teach-out” exceed $10 million, Florida Polytechnic University would provide additional funds to make up the difference.
The amendments were signed onto by Senators Jim Norman, Jack Latvala, Paula Dockery, Dennis Jones, Arthenia Joyner and Mike Fasano, with Norman taking the lead on the $3 million and $10 million appropriations that were achieved through substitute amendments.
The Senate’s $71 billion budget passed this afternoon. Conference committees will begin to reconcile the House and Senate Budgets. The final budget vote will be taken by March 9.
During the Senate debate, several Tampa Bay area Senators took note of the effort needed to protect USF from disastrous budget cuts. However, the best line of support for USF came from Miami Senator Larcenia Bullard, who has been ill for much of the legislative session. She credited doctors trained and educated at USF for providing her care and said, “I am living testimony that good things are happening at USF.”
We continue to encourage you to contact your Bay Area Legislative Delegation members ahead of their conference committees and final budget vote. Let them know the importance of a strong USF and a strong higher education system.