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UF President Machen Discusses Budget Cuts
With the close of the 2009 legislative session last week, state universities know how much they will have – or not have – for next year.
Now, university presidents must decide where to make cuts to their budgets. In an exclusive interview, TV20's Crispin Lopez sat down with University of Florida President Bernie Machen to discuss his $40-million decision.
TV20: During this time, we've heard different numbers, different figures. I know that you've repeated them, but just to make it clear...what are we looking at now? With the legislative session having ended, what is the university looking at as far as numbers?
Machen: The legislature for next year is cutting our state budget by a little over 12 percent. They are giving us some new money in certain areas. So the net cut, meaning the net amount of money that we will have to reduce our budget, is a little bit over $60 million. We are also getting some new tuition revenue as a result of the differential tuition bill, which we can apply to that cut. But all in, we are still going to have to reduce our recurring budget by at least $40 million.
TV20: With the college proposals, the 10-percent reduction plan proposals, you said that those aren't set in stone and things could change. What have you discussed or what discussions have you had with members of these colleges?
Machen: We've gone over the entire book of proposals. I think now we understand what is in the book. Now, the question is, “What is the best course of action for the university?” – Taking the options that are listed in the book and deciding which of those we will use.
TV20: And at this point can you say which, in your opinion, you've seen that are more feasible or that you would likely pursue as opposed to others?
Machen: No, we're going to meet with the Faculty Senate this Friday and start to talk about the general categories that we're looking at. But our first option is to try to deal with as much as this cut as we can through what we call attrition. That should give us a significant amount of the funding we need without having to impact any specific program or person. Unfortunately, that's not going to be enough and we'll have to use other options in the book to complete the process.
TV20: Could we be seeing across-the-board cuts to these departments? Or is it possible that you'll see some get very small cuts to their particular college and others could see the actual worst-case 10-percent cuts?
Machen: There will be no across-the-board cuts. Some programs and departments and colleges will have minimal cuts. Others will have large cuts. Also, the administration is expected to shoulder a significant amount of the budget cuts as well. Everybody will be involved in terms of taking some hit from the cuts, but it will not be across the board.
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