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Senate Kicks Out Funding For Florida Polytech; Weatherford Says Lawmakers Want Answers

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. 

In an initial Senate education budget, the school gets nothing, and House Speaker Will Weatherford says it’s time for Polytech officials to give some answers:

“To defund it probably doesn’t make a lot of sense either. I’d be shocked if when the Senate rolls their budget out in its entirety, that Polytechnic is not included in there. I believe we have a responsibility to make the best lemonade we can out of the situation," he said.

Polytech has no students, no curriculum and isn’t accredited. It’s only building is under construction. Sen. Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton), told the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald's capitol bureau that he left out $22.4 million for the university because he couldn't figure out what the funding is for. “It seems to me that the university is just a building at this point,” Galvano said, according to the Times-Herald report.

Polytech officials are expected to give a status update to the state university governing board this Wednesday and Thursday.