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Alexander and USF's Genshaft talk Polytech, budget

Tampa Bay Times
USF President and Senator JD Alexander talk with reporters

Senate budget Chief JD Alexander and University of South Florida President Judy Genshaft met face-to-face for the first time Monday since squaring off back in November. The two are at odds over a plan to allow the University’s Polytechnic Campus to work toward becoming the state’s 12th state university. Lynn Hatter reports the University is also at odds over the Senate’s higher education budget.

Last week Senate Budget Chief JD Alexander dropped a plan to hold back $25 million dollars from USF unless the school followed through with plans to guide its Polytechnic campus toward independence. After talking with USF President Judy Genshaft, Alexander says there’s still more homework to do regarding a full separation of USF and its Polytech.

“I’ve given, and Senator Lynn has given our view that we’re not interested in hurting any students or institutions. We’re quite frankly, faced with budget decisions that no one likes, but we’ll work our way through.”

Under the Senate’s higher education proposal the state’s four biggest universities would take a cut of between 25-30 percent. The Senate says the schools can make the money up by dipping into reserves. But the schools say those “reserves” really don’t exist—because it’s already committed much of the money. The House proposal calls for an across the board rate cut along with tuition increases.