Tallahassee's higher education establishment is warily eyeing university and community college plans in the House and Senate. Florida A&M University and Tallahassee Community college leaders are looking to opposite legislative chambers for support.
The Florida Senate wants to increase university funding, and if that happens, both Florida State University and Florida A&M University would get additional dollars. That possibility has FAMU Trustee Kim Moore is hoping the Senate's higher education plan will prevail.
“We understand that there are some challenges and we’re always trying to work through with limited resources…but the whole idea of our focus being toward students and the success that comes to FAMU and the state of Florida as a result of that investment, that’s what we’re counting on them to make the right decision," she says.
But Tallahassee Community College President Jim Mudaugh says he "might disagree” with that assessment.
That's because the Senate is proposing a $95 million dollar reduction to community colleges, with most of the money, $55 million, coming in the form of reductions to developmental education classes. The House however, is pitching only $65 million in reductions to the colleges, and Murdough says the difference in the spending proposals represent different philosophies between the two chambers on the role of higher education.
“They seem to be at a very different place philosophically about higher education. You cannot have a successful and robust economy in Florida if you don’t have a significant investment in community colleges as well as universities," Murdaugh says.