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Scott signs budget; no word on Poly

Posted Apr 17, 2012 by Lindsay Peterson

Updated Apr 17, 2012 at 05:22 PM

Gov. Rick Scott has signed the 2012-13 state budget. No mention of Poly.

Word is, he won’t make a decision on Poly until later in the week. He has until Saturday.

Meantime, state Sen. Paula Dockery continues to beat the drum for a veto of the bill that state Sen. JD Alexander pushed through the Legislature this session.

The bill would break USF away from its Polytechnic campus in July, which would short circuit a state Board of Governors plan to gradually build up the USF Poly campus until it’s accredited, for one thing, and ready for independence.

Dockery sent a letter to Scott this morning, a little while before he signed the budget at a school in Jacksonville. You can read it here.

She said she was “very disappointed” that he ignored a request from USF Poly students and faculty for a meeting. They’re against the sudden split.

So “as their voice,” she wrote, she summed up the case for a veto.

- While Alexander says the instant new Poly would provide much needed science and tech programs, the money going to the school would deplete existing programs, such UF’s College of Engineering.
- The Council of 100 says the risk is too high and there are better ways to get the STEM programs.
- Lakeland doesn’t want this – contrary to what the governor may be hearing from supporters.
- It would open with no accreditation, meaning no federal funding for students or faculty.

“You have the unique opportunity to create a higher-education institution (through the Board of Governors’ action), without violating the proper process and procedures,” she wrote.

“To allow this bill to become law, you foster the dangerous precedent of undermining the BOG’s constitutional authority and allowing political meddling into creating other colleges and universities. Other legislators are lining up for similar action.”

Dockery says people are overwhelmingly against Alexander’s instant Poly plan. The Tampa Tribune/TBO has obtained copies of emails and letters to Scott on the issue. Support for Alexander’s bill outweighs opposition, but many are simply form letters that were sent in a bunch.

A couple raised some eyebrows. They’re from porn star Ron Jeremy and the late John Denver.

You figure it out.


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