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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Fasano calls USF Poly's financial plan "laughable"



Senator Mike Fasano said he's concerned that the University of South Florida Polytechnic's plan to split off and become an independent university would rob other state institutions of PECO dollars. Those Public Educational Capital Outlay funds, used for building projects on campuses, have been increasingly scarce over the past few years.

In a plan USF Poly recently released that outlines how it expects to break away, the school relies on more than $154 million in PECO dollars alone to fund its new campus, plus funds from public-private partnerships, a state gift-matching program that has not been funded for several years, and tuition it hopes to charge at a higher rate than other universities.

Yet, the plan also claims that "sufficient funding is in place to start the new polytechnic university and continue its growth through 2026 and beyond." Later, the plan says that only phase I of its independence, from 2012 through 2017, won't cost any additional money. (After that, expenses jump to more than $222 million in 2018 and more than $335 million by 2023.)

Fasano is skeptical.

"The suggestion by Poly that it will have almost no fiscal impact in the first year is laughable," Fasano wrote in an e-mail to the Times. Fasano said he appreciated the criticisms raised by USF's administrative staff in a review sent to the Board of Governors. "The concerns staff brings up are helpful to us as we argue against the separation and creation of a new university." 

[Last modified: Thursday, October 27, 2011 11:14am]


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