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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Admins, faculty at odds over $240-mil reserve fund

Does USF really have $240-million in reserves sitting around, and if so, can't administrators use it to blunt the more than $50-million in cuts that trustees are expected to approve at a special board meeting tomorrow afternoon?

Such is the contention of USF's faculty union, whose leaders are pushing administrators to tap into the so-called "unrestricted assets."

"The board could put us on a glide path, or on a crash path," said faculty union president Sherman Dorn. "Use those assets to bring in faculty, to award sabbaticals so that faculty can improve themselves."

But USF officials say the fund is not something that can be so easily accessed, nor is it as flush as it looks. USF spokeswoman Lara Wade said that of the $240-million, only $70-million is uncommitted to various USF projects.

And that $70-million must, at the Board of Governors' direction, be left untouched as as emergency fund that covers at least a month of payroll in the event of a disaster like a hurricane, Wade said.

Faculty union leaders are expected to raise the issue anyway during the trustees meeting, at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Marshall Center. The union last week also voted to request that administrators delay the reorganization of academic colleges and departments as part of their cost-saving strategy -- a request likely to be ignored.

Here's the union's analysis of assets

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:42am]

    

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