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USF lobbies legislators to drop proposed cuts

USF president Judy Genshaft joins the systemwide push for growth in enrollment and staffing.

By MICHAEL SANDLER, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 21, 2003


TALLAHASSEE -- During one of the tightest budget years in nearly a decade, University of South Florida officials came to the Capitol on Thursday to make a case for more money.

They crowded into the offices of influential legislators, including House Speaker Johnnie Byrd, R-Plant City, and Senate Majority Leader Dennis Jones, R-Treasure Island. Their goal was to salvage some of the more than $100-million in cuts to Florida universities proposed by Gov. Jeb Bush.

USF president Judy Genshaft told the lawmakers the university system's top priorities include:

Rejecting the proposed budget cuts.

Restoring $34.4-million for salaries, benefits, operating costs and new facilities.

Providing $66.2-million for enrollment growth and the hiring of 10,274 new employees.

"It's a tough time for everybody," Genshaft said. "The governor's budget is hard for all major universities."

Genshaft received good news at a luncheon. Rep. David Mealor, R-Lake Mary, chairman of the House Committee on Higher Education, told her his committee had added $34-million to university spending. Mealor said the money would come from lottery receipts.

"It's the first step," Mealor said. "We've got a ways to go."

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