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Weatherford on Polytech-U: "How Can We Creatively Make It A Success?"

Chris Urso

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 That request has since been withdrawn.

“My understanding of Polytech was that they made a request for more money. We are not in a situation where we can build out that school with more funds," Weatherford told reporters Thursday.

"But that being said, now that it exists and a building is being built, and we have a university that is moving forward, we should be thinking creatively on how we can make this a success.”  

Weatherford says the vote to create Florida Polytechnic last year was tied to whether the state would have a budget, but now that the school is in place the state has to support it. The speaker suggests Polytech partner with an out-of-state school. The fledgling university is still trying to build up its main campus, recruit faculty and students, create a curriculum and become accredited.

The Florida Board of Governors, which oversees all the state's public universities, has called on Polytech officials to provide a status update on the school at the Board's next meeting later in March.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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