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March Update


Since the Update I sent earlier this year, the economy continues to batter the foundations of our nation, state and university.

For instance, the Governor’s Office recently announced it is withholding some of the funds due state agencies in the final quarter of this fiscal year. UCF’s fourth-quarter budget was cut $9.6 million.

All told, $54 million — about 20 percent — has been removed from UCF’s state budget since July 1, 2007.

Fortunately, our conservative financial planning and strategic use of reserve funds have prevented UCF from having to resort to the types of layoffs already announced at other state universities. In fact, the availability of sufficient non-recurring reserves will allow us to avoid layoffs in response to the recent $9.6 million budget cut.

Planning for the Future
The Florida Legislature is determining the state’s budget for the 2009-10 fiscal year, which starts July 1. Florida is facing a $6 billion budget deficit.

Among options being discussed are budget cuts that would again impact our university.

Given continuing budget uncertainty, we might be forced to make cuts in the Education and General budget beyond the 4 percent reduction for all colleges and divisions that I announced in January.

To help prepare for further cuts, colleges and divisions will be allowed to carry forward any unspent balances from this fiscal year into the 2009-10 fiscal year. Like last year, carry-forward funds will play a critical role in helping to manage cuts.

UCF also is considering furlough days, which are unpaid leaves for employees. A preliminary study shows that the university would save about $1 million for every furlough day.

Though the university has not finalized any plans at this time, furloughs could help close future budget gaps and preserve jobs.

Once the state’s budget is approved later this spring and UCF’s budget situation is clear, I will communicate with you immediately. In the meantime, I urge colleges and divisions to continue to conserve resources.

Budget Resource Center
The state budget is constantly changing. That is why we have created an online Budget Resource Center for students, alumni, and faculty and staff members who want to know more about our budget situation.

The Web site is designed to help you understand our financial position, and it will be continuously updated as new information becomes available. The Web site also provides an opportunity for you to provide suggestions and feedback.

In these uncertain economic times, it’s important for us to strive to maintain the level of excellence that our students deserve. As I have said before, faculty and staff members have worked longer and made do with fewer resources to remain dedicated to our primary goal — serving students.

Thank you for all of your efforts.