The Florida A&M University (FAMU) Board of Trustees (BOT) voted to approve the preliminary operational budget for the 2009-2010 fiscal year, which includes a $16.2 million reduction.
“It has been a painful two years with the severe and permanent cuts the university has had to sustain,” said Daryl D. Parks, member of the FAMU-BOT. “The administration and staff have worked diligently to prioritize permanent employees and academic programs and faculty. Although we could honor these with previous cuts, we will not be able to continue this protection.”
The budget will go into effect on July 1, the start of the new fiscal year, and include layoffs. Layoffs will affect non-permanent faculty, administrative and professional (A&P) and university support personnel system (USPS) employees.
According to FAMU President James H. Ammons, because of the nearly $8 million in stimulus dollars, FAMU will offer recall/reemployment opportunities in 76 of the 120 affected positions. FAMU will bring back those employees in time-limited positions.
“Our guiding principles in developing the budget reduction plan was to maintain our academic programs and retain as many of our permanent employees as possible,” Ammons said.
Ammons thanked the delegation and Legislature in general for their work during the 2009 session. He said the impact of the budget cuts would have been much more severe without legislative support for higher education.
Both Rep. Michelle Rewinkel Vasalinda, District 9, and Rep. Alan B. Williams, District 8, joined Ammons at a press conference regarding the budget reduction. They agreed that they will go into the next legislative session to work harder on funding and preserving higher education in Florida.
“State workers are one of the main economic drivers,” Vasalinda said. “We are part of a team, and when we cut these jobs you’re taking away from the local businesses. We will look for other ways to fund higher education and continue to fight and do all we can do to invest in it. Cutting from higher education is not the smart or the right thing to do.”
Rep. Williams echoed her sentiments.
“It is tough and hard to be here to talk about the issues that the president and the leadership team have to deal with because of the harsh economic situation,” he said. “We have to remember and understand the significance of higher education, and we will go into our next legislative session and work harder to invest in it.”
Since July 1, 2007, FAMU has experienced $16.7 million in permanent cuts from its state appropriation. This brings the total budget reduction to over $33 million.