Budget cuts expected

The Florida A&M Board of Trustees met Thursday, and the reports were less than positive for both Florida A&M and the state of Florida. The Budgeting and Finance Committee reported a 23 percent decrease in general revenue funding from the 2006-2007 fiscal school year, which is a loss of about $27.2 million, according to financial reports.

At the announcement, the atmosphere in the grand ballroom noticeably stiffened. Chief Financial Officer Teresa Hardee reported to the Board that anywhere from $4.4 to $8.9 million would be cut for the 2010-2011 school year.

The biggest news, perhaps, is that the university will receive no federal stimulus funds after the 2010-2011 fiscal year; as Florida is facing a projected $2.7 billion drop in general revenue. The Board of Trustees is preparing for this setback by having a budget workshop during the Board of Trustees meeting in February 2010.

Hardee and President Ammons said administrators would bring a plan to trustees that includes going back to options vetted during the 2008-2009 school year. Those options included furloughs, layoffs, reorganizing summer school or cutting some academic programs.

“Student work will be cut,” said Alana Debose, 19, a first-year elementary education student from Augusta. “Jobs that take four and five people to get done efficiently will be allotted enough pay for three, which means someone will lose their job, or each person gets paid less.”

The Facilities Planning Committee highlighted the main efforts of the university’s sustainability efforts, including increasing on-campus recycling, incorporating sustainability elements into the 2010-2015 Master Plan, and hosting the 2010 Regional Campus Sustainability Conference. In addition, the committee reviewed a request to begin construction on Phase II of the Hansel E. Tookes Recreation Center.

The design submitted by the Student Government Association would include basketball, racquetball, and multi-use courts; as well as stationary bikes and additional restrooms. The budget allotted for this construction is $2.7 million.

The Committee of Academic Affairs, which includes Provost Cynthia Hughes-Harris, Assistant Vice President Donald Palm, and Associate Vice President Gita Pitter, spoke on the university’s plans to create a College of Dental Medicine. Florida A&M will submit a request to increase the State University Legislative Budget Request by $1.5 million in planning funds.

The Student Relations Committee had no proposals, but submitted the final enrollment statistics. The official enrollment for fall 2009 is 12,274, with five students in the freshman class who earned a 2100 or higher on the SAT, and 761 students with a 3.0 grade point average or higher.