Legislative Update #3

March 21, 2019

legislative update

House and Senate Higher Education Chair Budget Proposals

This week Senate Education Appropriations Chair Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) and House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Randy Fine (R-Palm Bay) released the first salvo of budget proposals this week. Highlights gleaned from these proposals are as follows.

Florida College System

The 2019-20 House budget proposal for colleges is basically flat with no real increase in funding and continues the performance funding of $60 million, half of which is state investment and the other half being the institutional investment.

The total of the House proposed Program Fund is approximately $1.2 billion. Note: College funding is exclusive of tuition and fees.

The 2019-20 Senate budget proposal for colleges increase operating funds in two categories. First, there is a $15.5 million increase in “Compression” funds for colleges funded below the statewide average. Second, there is a $22.5 million increase in operating funds to all colleges.

In the Senate proposal, performance funds are being replaced by Student Success incentives. $28 million is allocated to a 2+2 Student Success Incentive and $12 million to a Work Florida Incentive Fund.

The total increase in operating funds in the Senate proposal is approximately 3.6%.

State University System

The 2019-20 House budget proposal for universities cuts university budgets by $135 million or about 2.5% of their base operating budgets. The issue seems to be twofold. First, it is a response to the misuse of operating funds at UCF for construction. Second, it is due to the large reserve accounts of most universities. This has been a constant rebuke of universities brought by Chairman Fine in meetings prior to this week.

The House proposal also as part of the total cut reduces funds for preeminent and emerging preeminence funding, funds for the world class faculty and scholar program and the professional and graduate degree excellence program, both created last year.

It appears that performance funding continues at the 2018-19 level.

The 2019-20 Senate budget proposal for universities shows an approximate increase of 1.03% over 2018-19. This include tuition funded at the same level as this year, a total of $1.8 billion.

The single area of significant increase is preeminent and emerging preeminence funding which is proposed to be $80 million in 2019-20.

Higher Education Policy Issues Absent This Week

There were no actions taken this week on bills we have reported about, principally HB 13 which would restrict all union leave in our contracts and HB 839 a bill that would establish a survey of faculty and students’ diversity viewpoints (and political) at each university. The bill has issues important to UFF regarding performance funding, but the survey provision is a slap at faculty and intrusive to your rights.

Final Notes

I did testify before the Senate Education Appropriations Committee making an appeal for graduate fee waivers to limit, if not stop, pay for work. I also appealed to that committee to not punish faculty for administrative misuse of operating funds. The faculty union has already been punished due to that reckless mismanagement.

#FundOurFutureFL is having an impact at least in the Senate. The Senate K-12 budget proposal increased the K-12 funding formula by $1.1 billion. These funds impact our K-12 Lab School members at FSU, FAMU, UF, and FAU!

UFF is tentatively looking at Wednesday April 10, 2019 as a Higher Education Day of Action at each campus. More information will be forthcoming. Please continue encouraging faculty to wear Red for Ed on Wednesdays during the Legislative Session!

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