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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Flood the phone lines, university leaders urge



The Board of Governors held an emergency conference call this morning to organize opposition to proposed university system budget cuts.

Chair Sheila McDevitt implored board members and university presidents to talk to everyone they could and encourage e-mails, phone calls and visits to lawmakers negotiating the state's budget.

"Sometimes at the end (of session), quantity becomes more important," she said.

Under the House proposal, the 11 state universities would lose a total of $260 million in recurring state funding. The Senate's proposal is more generous than the House's, adding $120 million, but that comes from using federal stimulus dollars that run out in three years.

"We just have to make it clear that the numbers, the lower numbers, would just create so much difficulty for us that I don’t think we can easily repair it," McDevitt said.

Some on the call suggested organizing university board trustees and others to visit lawmakers next week, but McDevitt said that could be too late. Still, she asked everyone who could come next week to "clear the decks" and they'll advise. Whatever happens, McDevitt stressed that today and Saturday are the important days.

"Wherever we can get them, we’ve got about 36 hours," she said. "As soon as we get off the call, just hit the ground running."

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:21am]


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