Bernie Machen, President
I am writing to provide you with an update regarding our current budget situation as we move through the Spring Semester and prepare for the upcoming Legislative Session. As I am sure you are well aware, the news across the state is not good and could potentially become worse over the next several months.
Last fall our appropriations were reduced by the State by more than $22 million. In response to this reduction, each unit’s budget was reduced and we implemented other initiatives such as a hiring freeze and the creation of a campus Task Force on Cost Reduction and Efficiency. Our hiring has continued for positions supported by clinical, research, or auxiliary funding and for mission critical positions funded from State sources.
The Task Force has explored dozens of potential opportunities and has recommended several initiatives that are moving forward, including the new transcript charge, consolidation of print vendors, transitioning print publications to electronic publications, a comprehensive motor vehicle management plan and the recently announced direct deposit/debit card plan. We believe real revenue and cost savings initiatives were identified and their implementation will continue to be part of our overall strategy. As each new initiative moves toward implementation, we will communicate in advance to the campus.
In addition to the more than $22 million appropriation reduction last fall, we expect the legislature to reduce our appropriations by another $16 million this fiscal year. The governor has actually withheld this amount from the semi-monthly payment of appropriations to the university. The additional new reduction is expected to continue into the next fiscal year, which would mean a new recurring reduction of more than $25 million. Taken together this represents more than a $47 million dollar reduction from fiscal year 2007.
We have chosen to utilize several one-time funds to address the $16 million reduction for the remainder of this fiscal year to mitigate the impact on departments. As a consequence, we will not ask Colleges and other units to return additional money this fiscal year.
As we prepare for the new fiscal year the budgetary outlook is not very optimistic. Even after we have reduced our budget significantly, we expect another round of appropriation reductions beginning in July, in addition to the reductions previously described.
At this point, I am requesting that each Vice President and Dean prepare a plan to reduce their FY09 state funded budget by at least 6% by July 1, 2008. I do not anticipate that the reductions will be applied in an across the board format and each unit needs to develop a reduction plan that could support both programmatic and general reductions.
As we move through the legislative session we will gain a better understanding of the full impact to the campus, but we must prepare now for the anticipated reductions.
This continues to be a very difficult time for our entire community and I appreciate your ongoing team work and collaboration.
For more information, please see http://www.president.ufl.edu/budget-reduction/.