Florida Polytech University

Natalie Ekdahl

Choosing the right college or university is usually a big decision for most students, but choosing an untested one was an even bigger decision for Edison Collegiate High School Senior Natalie Ekdahl.

When she told her friends where she was going she says,  “most of them asked what it was, they’d never heard about it. But a few of them, they were excited about it and had heard good things about it too.”

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. 

Chris Urso / TBO.com

House Speaker Will Weatherford is working to clarify remarks he made on the state of Florida Polytechnic University.   Weatherford spoke with the Tampa Tribune’s editorial board earlier in the week and is quoted as calling the school a "disaster".

The speaker says he didn’t call the school itself a disaster, but was describing a plan by school officials to ask state lawmakers for another $25 million. That request has since been withdrawn.

Over a month after Governor Rick Scott approved a bill creating Florida’s twelfth university, the plan is moving forward. But Florida Polytechnic University isn’t out of the woods yet.

During the Florida Board of Governors’ meeting Friday, members discussed the progress of the new school. Board member Morteza Hosseini says new concerns have arisen about the transfer of the school’s property from the University of South Florida.

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.”