Florida Board of Governors

Governor Rick Scott is doubling down on his opposition to tuition increases. Lynn Hatter reports, the Governor has written letters to each state university president as well as members of the board that governs them.

Even though Governor Rick Scott vetoed a three-percent tuition increase approved by the legislature, universities could still request tuition hikes from the Florida Board of Governors.

AP Images / Reed Saxon

Florida’s former University system Chancellor Charlie Reed is back. Reed recently retired from his job as Chancellor of California State University System, and he’s now handing out advice for Florida’s Higher Education system.  

Florida’s newest public university is fighting to keep its independence. University officials gave a long-awaited update to the state’s university governing board Thursday, but questions still abound over what will happen to the fledgling school, which is still in the start-up phase.

Florida Board of Governors

Whether Florida will have 11 or 12 public universities is up in the air after the state’s newest school was left out of the budget of the Senate committee overseeing education.

Florida Polytechnic University sprung from the University of South Florida’s polytech program over the opposition of that schools faculty, staff and students. Supporters of Polytech argued the school wouldn’t need any additional funding, but a few months ago Polytech officials floated the idea of requesting an extra $25 million, which was later pulled. 

The Florida Board of Governors has voted to move Florida State University's Palm Beach digital animation program back to the school's Tallahassee main campus.

The vote was almost unanimous, with one dissenting.

A 51-page proposal before The House Education and Workforce Committee is aimed at keeping science and technology-inclined students in the state and calls on schools to do more with tracking how well students perform in the job market post-graduation. The proposal outlines performance-based bonuses for adult education programs, public K-12 schools and colleges and universities.

More Trouble For FSU Animation Program

Feb 13, 2013

Florida State University is facing more fall out stemming from their failed partnership with a bankrupt animation studio that left Florida taxpayers 20 million dollars in the hole. Emotions are running high between the Chancellor of the Florida Board of Governors and the program’s students over a proposal to move the program to Tallahassee.

The Florida Supreme Court has finally settled a long-running argument over which state entity has the power to set university tuition and has sided with the legislature over the Florida Board of Governors. The   Board, which oversees the state’s public universities, was once a party to the lawsuit but withdrew after striking a deal with the legislature to share tuition-setting authority.

Florida State University is trying to keep the doors open at its West Palm Beach Film School location, even though its partner production company has gone bankrupt.  The Digital Domain bankruptcy has left the state on the hook for millions, created increased scrutiny on Florida State and has left the fate of students in the program up in the air.

Florida A&M University

Five years ago, Florida A&M found itself  on accreditation probation. The reason? Financial problems and a series of blistering state audits. Now, the university is in a similar place again. Call it a case of really bad déjà vu:

“There’s got to be message here. And the message I think SACS is attempting to send is, we’ve got to get the Florida A&M house in order, and not for the short term, for the long term," said Frank Brogan, Chancellor of the State University System.

The state university system wants a $118 million  increase in state funding for Florida’s public universities. The schools say they’re willing to forgo another tuition increase if lawmakers appropriate the money.

Governor Rick Scott, his higher education advisory panel, and the board that oversees Florida’s universities, could be heading to a clash over tuition rates.

Governor Scott’s "Blue Ribbon" Task Force on Higher Education  is proposing tying tuition rates to programs. Those deemed most important would be shielded from tuition hikes for a few years until unemployment drops. But the tuition issue could run into headwind from Governor Rick Scott, who says he wants to keep costs down.

The Florida Department of Education wants a financial boost next year. The Department controls the budgets for the state’s public schools, community and state colleges and voluntary pre-kindergarten programs. And the department’s Tracy Banner says the bulk of the funding increase would go to one particular area:

“As you can see the majority of this increase, $534.9 million, is in the K-12 area. And as you will recall from Mark’s presentation earlier, $441.8 of that is for the technology modernization initiative.”

The Florida Supreme Court took up a long-running lawsuit Thursday over whether the legislature or the university governing board has the right to set tuition.The Florida Board of Governors was once a party to the lawsuit but withdrew after striking a deal with the legislature to share tuition-setting authority. But the lawsuit continued. It was filed by former Governor Bob Graham and others who say the board should have that authority.

The board that will oversee the state’s newest public university is beginning to take shape.

The Florida Board of Governors has announced that it has filled four of the five positions it gets to appoint to Florida Polytechnic University’s board of trustees. The first group includes Polk County Attorney Don Wilson and Richard Hallion -- a retired Air Force aerospace analyst who has also worked with NASA. Also on the board is former University of New England President Sandra Featherman, and former Board of Governors member Frank Martin.

Florida Governor Rick Scott repeated his opposition to tuition increases before the Board that oversees the state’s public universities. Scott addressed the Board of Governor’s during its luncheon Tuesday, saying he wants universities to keep costs low. Scott's comments come as the board weigh tuition proposals from most of the state’s universities.

The pressure on Florida A & M University continues to mount in the run-up to its board of trustees meeting set for Wednesday and Thursday.  In advance of the meeting, the chairman of the board that oversees all of Florida’s public universities issued a letter to FAMU’s board of trustees Chairman, seeking greater input into the evaluation of University President James Ammons.

Applications for Florida Polytech University’s board of trustees were due last Friday, but the Board of Governors extended the deadline after a flurry of last-minute filings. The Board’s spokeswoman Kelly Layman says the board is looking for quality, not quantity.

"The most important thing right now is to get the right board in place that’s a quality board, not simply a board that's ready on 5 pm, July first.”

A few wrenches have been thrown into the plan to create Florida’s 12th state university. For example, not enough people are applying to be members of Florida Polytechnic University’s Board of Trustees and the cost of constructing the standalone university is over budget.

The plan is to convert the Lakeland campus of the University of South Florida into Florida Polytechnic University.

The process to create Florida’s 12th public university hit a few snags Wednesday, as a special Board of Governors panel got an update on how the creation of the new Florida Polytechnic University is progressing. But, as Sascha Cordner reports, the university could be in jeopardy. So far, not enough people have applied to serve on its Board of Trustees.

The Board that oversees Florida’s public universities says the state’s budget for the upcoming year could hurt the school’s bond ratings. Lynn Hatter reports members of the Board of Governor’s say lawmakers built a lot of assumptions into the higher education budget, and the effects are already starting to unfold.

Lawmakers handed down a one-time $300 million budget cut to universities. Half of that money is coming out of the schools’ reserve funds. But the credit rating firm Moody’s, says it views the reserve cut as a credit negative. David Jacobson is the firm’s spokesman.

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