The Florida Legislature recently finished a special session in Tallahassee that addressed the state’s budget shortfall for the current fiscal year. The resulting legislation cuts $1.2 billion from the state budget, including a $93.5 million cut to the state university system.
For the University of Central Florida, this resulted in a budget cut of slightly more than $11 million, or 4 percent of our overall state budget.
At the start of this fiscal year, we set aside 6 percent of our budget in anticipation of state-mandated cuts. Thanks to that proactive decision, we will not have to make further cuts to departments’ budgets in the last few months of this fiscal year.
In fact, we will have about $5.4 million in reserves that we will use to address the significant budget cuts expected in the 2009-10 fiscal year, which begins July 1.
I know I speak for President John Hitt and the UCF Board of Trustees when I thank you for all you have done, and will continue to do, for our university. UCF faculty and staff members have worked longer hours and made do with fewer resources to remain dedicated to our primary goal—serving students.
Including the most recent cuts and the $5.4 million held in reserve, more than $44 million has been removed from UCF’s state budget since July 1, 2007. That represents 16 percent of our state budget during that time.
The Florida Legislature will reconvene this spring to address what are widely expected to be further, and possibly deeper, budget cuts for 2009-10. In anticipation of those cuts, I am advising all deans and vice presidents that their 2009-10 E&G budgets will be reduced by an additional 4 percent, effective July 1.
That 4 percent, along with the 2 percent reserve we are carrying forward from this year, means we will start the next fiscal year with 6 percent of our budget set aside in anticipation of future budget cuts. We will closely monitor the budget process during the regular legislative session beginning in March to determine if greater reductions may be necessary.
In the weeks and months ahead, I will continue to communicate regularly about budget issues and how they affect UCF. Thank you for your continued dedication to our students and our university.