UF still plans deep budget cuts

Despite a state budget that would boost funding slightly for higher education, the University of Florida still is expecting to make significant cuts.

The proposed state budget makes $49 million in cuts to UF's funding but uses federal stimulus money to make up for the shortfall. Because the stimulus money runs out in two years, UF officials still plan to make cuts that could mean layoffs and program eliminations.

"The stabilization money is meant to be a bridge across this economic crisis," UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes said. "We just don't know what's at the end of the bridge."

UF's budget is expected to be completed later this month. UF President Bernie Machen has said stimulus money won't be used for recurring costs such as salaries because there are no assurances the state will replace the money in two years.

In an e-mail, Machen said the stimulus instead will be used to implement cuts, bridge the time it takes to move programs to private funding and provide retirement incentives for employees.

Last month, UF released options for cuts that included hundreds of layoffs and the elimination of eight programs. Some entities might be shifted from state to private funding, such as the Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

The bureau collects and studies economic and demographic data.

Sikes said the bureau was an example of a program that might be funded with stimulus money as grants and donations are sought.

UF still plans deep budget cuts - Gainesville Sun - May 6, 2009