Amid Poly separation, USF working out logistics of faculty, staff positions
Part of the deal that spun off USF's Lakeland branch campus into the state's 12th university was that faculty, staff and students at the campus would be protected. The bill that Gov. Rick Scott signed on Friday creating Florida Polytechnic included $10 million to help USF cover the costs of absorbing those people in what's called a "teach-out."
But it's not as simple as it seems.
USF Polytechnic's payroll was estimated to be closer to $18 million, a number USF used since the beginning of Legislative budget talks. The $10 million was the most that lawmakers could get put into the bill. (The $18 million figure could actually be a little less, since the interim chancellor of USF Poly was able to save $1 million while at the helm by eliminating positions he deemed unnecessary, in addition to a couple million for staff of the Florida Phosphate Research Institute that will remain with Florida Poly.)
USF President Judy Genshaft has vowed that all the students currently enrolled at USF Poly would be able to graduate under USF's flag -- and accreditation. She also said faculty would be absorbed into USF's main campus.
That still leaves staff, many of whom are employed in jobs not necessary for a campus that's closing -- think admissions, for instance.
Still, there shouldn't necessarily be reason for alarm, said USF spokesman Michael Hoad. USF has a history, he said, amid all the budget blows it's sustained over the past five years, of taking care of its employees. That might mean finding new jobs for some people on another part of campus.
"We do the best we can," Hoad said. "We go through one by one, person by person, and where there's a position that won't survive, we look at the person to see if we can find a position for this person."
Even then, could some people still lose their jobs? "It's possible" he said.
But in that case, Hoad said, when USF Poly (or more accurately now, USF's teaching site in Lakeland) closes its doors, there will be a new institution presumably hiring all the positions the USF site no longer needs, he said.