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News Clips 02/22/2013
State Asks Poly Board to Justify $25 Mil. Request
Source: Lakeland Ledger, 2/22/2013
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LAKELAND — The State University System Board of Governors wants a detailed accounting of why Florida Polytechnic University's leaders intend to ask for an additional $25 million to set up the school.
Dean Colson, chair of the Board of Governors, mentioned during a Thursday meeting that he wrote to Florida Polytechnic Chairman Rob Gidel to ask that he attend next month's BOG meeting. The Ledger requested a copy of the missive, which is dated Wednesday.
"We are requesting you attend our next meeting, taking place March 27th and 28th, 2013 at Florida A&M University," Colson said. "Due to the time that has elapsed since the passage of SB 1994 and the subsequent appointment of the Florida Polytechnic Board of Trustees, it is important to update the (BOG) on Florida Polytechnic's progress toward the established benchmarks."
When it was decided that Florida Polytechnic would be created as the state's 12th university, the BOG established specific benchmarks that were to be met. The creation of the university was launched with Senate Bill 1994.
"Those benchmarks include expectations regarding accreditation, academic programming, staffing, student enrollment, and facilities," Colson said.
His letter was in reaction to a decision made at a recent Florida Poly board retreat, when the board agreed that Chief Operating Officer Ava Parker would approach the BOG and ask for another $25 million. The university has a $100 million building under construction and will have an annual budget of about $27 million, but its leaders plan to ask for additional funds to get the campus ready for students.
"Given the news reports of Florida Polytechnic's intent to request $25 million from the Legislature, I would also ask that the presentation include specific information on any perceived funding shortfalls not covered in Florida Polytechnic's initial budget or by way of exemptions granted in SB 1994," Colson said.
Requests for funds from universities are made via the BOG, and the deadline for universities to make requests before the upcoming Legislative session has passed. BOG spokeswoman Kim Wilmath said no amendments to the legislative budget request have been submitted. The total request is for about $100 million, to be distri- buted among all of the state's universities.
Florida Polytechnic's Parker, who formerly was chair of the BOG, said she will go through the board to make the request of the Legislature.
The deadline could not be met for Florida Poly's request, she said, because the school is just now being formed. Parker was brought on board in late December.
Colson advised Gidel to provide presentation material by noon March 14.
"Please contact the board office with any questions, and thank you in advance for your attention to this important matter," he said.