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Crist's budget plan has "serious mistake" for universities

Kicking off what is expected to be a long day dedicated to talking about how the state university system is underfunded, members of the Board of Governors this morning expressed dismay that Gov. Charlie Crist targeted construction grants for budget cuts. Crist in his budget cut recommendations to lawmakers suggested slashing $37.8 million in a program that matches private donations with state dollars for construction projects.

Members of the Board of Governors facilities committee said it made no sense to cut money for construction projects when Crist himself has said he wants to jumpstart Florida's economy by spending money now on other school and road construction projects.

"I think it's a serious mistake that has been proposed,'' said BOG member and former Florida State University president Stanley Marshall.

The Board of Governors is meeting on the same day that legislators begin deliberations for next week's scheduled, but not yet officially declared, special session to cut the state's $71 billion budget. (Translation: We still don't have an official call for the session.)

Later this morning the BOG is expected to vote on a proposal to raise tuition for the spring semester, which could set up a constitutional clash with the Legislature and Crist. Crist continues to be opposed to raising tuition anytime this year, although the House is considering a budget proposal to raise tuition as well.