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USF Pharmacy dean: cuts would decimate program



 With the House and Senate still hammering out the final budget cuts coming to the state university system, the University of South Florida continues to lobby for an additional $3 million for its pharmacy program still on the chopping block. 

The fledgling program was formerly funded through the USF Polytechnic budget, but a bill slipped into the Senate's budget a couple weeks ago would immediately break off that Lakeland branch campus from USF -- taking its money with it.  The school says it needs $6 million to continue operating in Tampa. An amendment negotiated by Sen. Jim Norman, R-Tampa, would give back the school $3 million of that.

If the school doesn't get back that additional money, it could "totally decimate everything we've been able to accomplish," said Kevin Sneed, dean of the program.

Sneed held a news conference Wednesday to highlight those dismal implications. But he would not give specifics, instead saying, "I don't even want to consider what could happen."

The thing people need to understand, Sneed said, is that the school currently has only one class of students. Cutting now, when they're interviewing candidates for next year's freshman class, would be a huge step backward. Absorbing cuts to the program with its current 50 students would be tough enough. Doing it next year with a total of 100 or more would... well, like he said, "I don't want to think about it."

Faculty salaries alone cost $4.2 million right now, with just one class, Sneed said.

On Thursday Sneed will give a presentation about the program to USF's Board of Trustees, as the school waits on news from Tallahassee.

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 5:08pm]


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