Florida State University Student Body President Avi Assidon circulated a petition on Wednesday in opposition to the Florida Legislature’s decision to base its budget allocations on each university’s reserve funds.
FSU has the largest reserves among state universities and faces a $65.8 million cut.
The SignOn.org petition, which currently has 319 signatures, states: ”Stop proposed cuts to higher education, including Florida State University, and do not penalize institutions for saving funds.”
The legislature is set to pass its budget today with a $300 million non-recurring cut to universities, $100 million less than originaly sought.
While state universities are not facing as large a cut as previously proposed, universities with higher reserves say the budget allocations punish them for being prudent.
Most of FSU’s reserve funds have been dedicated for specific uses, President Eric Barron said in an e-mail promoting a town-hall meeting and legislative update for faculty and staff, but any money not spent or under contract is considered “carry-forward” by the state.
“…it promotes a mindset that could have every university spending down their budgets at the end of the year, even if it means buying truckloads of pencils, rather than act responsibly to manage for downturns,” Barron wrote in the e-mail.
The budget cuts take into account two factors aside from each university’s reserves: annual funding and expected tuition increases.
The Senate already passed a bill that would allow FSU and University of Florida to increase tuition beyond the 15 percent cap for meeting research university benchmarks.
The bills await Governor Rick Scott’s approval, but he has expressed concern over increasing the cost of universities, saying “I don’t believe in tuition increases.”