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USF’s St. Petersburg campus faces more than $3 million in budget cuts

Jaymi Butler

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USF St. Pete
Photo: University of South Florida.

As part of nearly $37 million in budget reductions across the University of South Florida, the school’s St. Petersburg campus will face cuts of $3.1 million by June 2021. 

Most of the cuts have been achieved by cutting salaries among campus senior leadership, freezing open positions and targeting other non-personnel related items, said Regional Chancellor Martin Tadlock. Any remaining reductions will be identified in partnership with USF’s multi-campus deans and support area vice presidents.  

According to a statement on USF’s website, university leadership worked closely with both Tadlock and Karen Holbrook, regional chancellor of the Sarasota-Manatee campus, on plans to align budgets, and that will support the school’s goals rather than “simply making across-the-board reductions.” 

In an email to the USF community Thursday, president Steve Currall wrote that the estimated cost of Covid-19 to USF from March through the end of 2020 will be $31 million, with additional longer-term impacts yet to be determined. Effective Oct. 2, Currall will be taking a voluntary 15 percent pay cut that will reduce his base salary from $575,000 to $488,750, and other members of the university’s leadership team will also see salary reductions ranging from 6 – 10 percent. USF’s athletics department announced Thursday it would eliminate 30 positions. Furloughs and pay reductions for all salaried employees will also be in place for the rest of the fiscal year.

USF, along with other state schools, were aware that cuts needed to be made in light of the impact of the pandemic on the state’s economy and tax revenue. In July, officials requested plans from all state universities to plan for an 8.5 percent cut by the end of the current fiscal year, and an additional 10 percent by the end of the next one. 

“Depending on how our state’s economy recovers, it is possible that further reductions in state funding may be required,” Currall wrote. 

News of the budget cuts comes on the heels of a largely positive month for USF. Over the last 10 years, USF has climbed from No. 181 to No. 103 among all universities and from No. 100 to No. 46 among public schools, making it the fastest-rising university in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report’s rankings. Currall said he’s optimistic the school will continue to rise to meet challenges despite financial constraints. 

“To be clear, some steps will be arduous,” he said. “But, as a community we will help one another navigate our future.”

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