Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Education

Against tuition debate, Florida universities plan funding announcement

TALLAHASSEE — University presidents and student leaders will convene at the Capitol this morning to roll out their new funding campaign.

The State University System has requested $118 million in additional funding in the 2013-2014 budget to be distributed among the 12 universities and tied to performance.

But the amount is notable because is it equal to what universities would receive if they increased tuition by the maximum 15 percent allowable by state law something Gov. Rick Scott has made clear he opposes.

At the last Florida Board of Governors meeting, members said they would consider forgoing tuition increases if the state granted this $118 million request. Board of Governors spokeswoman Kim Wilmath said the announcement will be a "candid discussion about the value of higher education to the state of Florida."

"They are going to gather with a proposal for legislators about funding higher education in the upcoming session," she said.

Tuition has become a point of debate between Gov. Scott and higher education leaders.

Scott is urging colleges and universities to make degrees cheaper. But educators, and even the governor's own higher education task force, have said that either tuition has to rise or the state has to allocate more funds for universities to meet their bottom lines.

Rep. Erik Fresen, a Miami Republican who is chairman of the House Education Appropriations Subcommittee, said he disagrees with Scott's hard stance against tuition increases. He thinks there should be flexibility in the funding policy to address the unique needs of each university.

"I do see situations where in certain universities perhaps there shouldn't be an increase and certain universities there should be," he said. "And I think that the market conditions and the enrollment conditions should be the driving force behind that policy and not just some blanket policy for all universities."

Sen. Dwight Bullard, a Miami Democrat, said the state should give universities more money, especially if it means tuition increases are avoided.

"The idea that state universities have had to increase tuition over the last several years is the wrong way to go," said Bullard, a teacher who sits on the Senate's Education Committee and Education Appropriations Subcommittee. "As a state, we should be more willing to kick in and find new means of revenue to fund the universities properly."

Dale Brill, president of the Florida Chamber Foundation, gave the House's Higher Education and Workforce Subcommittee a presentation on the recommendations from the governor's higher education task force, which he chaired. Brill shared statistics about the rising debt load among students, the job industries showing the highest growth and the trend in Florida of tax dollars being replaced by tuition to cover universities' costs.

After the meeting, Brill said the task force thinks the state should invest new dollars as long as the money comes with strings attached.

"In our funding recommendation in that first line it says fund them equivalent to your expectations on them," Brill said. "… Tie it to performance. Performance funding is the path to giving the Legislature, the governor and the citizens of Florida a sense that there is a deliberate return that everybody buys into that we're going to pursue."

Contact Tia Mitchell at [email protected] or (850) 224-7263.

Comments
School shooter may get inheritance — and be ordered to spend it on legal bills

School shooter may get inheritance — and be ordered to spend it on legal bills

Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz appears to have been in line for a sizable inheritance. He’ll never get to spend it — except perhaps on defense attorneys.The amount could be enough to compel a judge to order him to hire a private lawyer, rather ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pasco County schools, dealing with threats, warn students of consequences

Pasco County schools, dealing with threats, warn students of consequences

DADE CITY — A Pasco High School student was taken into custody Tuesday amid accusations of threatening violence against the school. The campus was not at risk, school district officials said. But they made clear they take each threat seriously, and t...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Officers: When an active shooter attacks, survive by taking action

Officers: When an active shooter attacks, survive by taking action

LARGO — An Illinois teacher used confrontation. A campus safety monitor in Seattle attacked with pepper spray and physical force. An assistant football coach in Indiana shouted as he chased him into the woods.All were civilians who took down an activ...
Published: 02/20/18
Under a new law, some public schools will be managed by companies. Pinellas is getting ready

Under a new law, some public schools will be managed by companies. Pinellas is getting ready

LARGO — Pinellas County School Board members are not happy about the prospect of having to hand over academic control at three struggling schools to a private company, and paying the firm up to $2 million on top of it. But that’s the course they must...
Published: 02/20/18
Lawsuit accuses FSU fraternity, national chapter of negligence in pledge’s death

Lawsuit accuses FSU fraternity, national chapter of negligence in pledge’s death

The parents of Andrew Coffey, the Florida State University student who died from alcohol poisoning after an apparent hazing episode last year, have sued the national Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity and nine of its members for their son’s death.Coffey, who wa...
Published: 02/20/18
Upset by grade, Robinson High student threatens to shoot up campus, police say

Upset by grade, Robinson High student threatens to shoot up campus, police say

Schools nationwide are on heightened alert in the wake of last week’s fatal shootings in Broward County, and in the Tampa area, that means official warnings about social media posts and more calls for police action.Two Tampa boys, one 15 and one 16, ...
Published: 02/20/18
Schools, Tampa police warn against ‘misleading’ school security reports

Schools, Tampa police warn against ‘misleading’ school security reports

TAMPA — During a news conference Tuesday morning, Hillsborough Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins and Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan warned against misleading investigators with reports about school security."Spread the word," the school said in a t...
Published: 02/20/18
‘I would take a bullet for the kids’; Teachers struggle with life-and-death realities after school shooting

‘I would take a bullet for the kids’; Teachers struggle with life-and-death realities after school shooting

TAMARAC — The shooting was all over, but the emotional reckoning had just begun, and so on Saturday the teachers of Broward County in Florida packed their union hall to discuss what it meant to have become the nation’s human shields."Last night I tol...
Published: 02/20/18
Today: Senate to put its own stamp on Florida education proposals

Today: Senate to put its own stamp on Florida education proposals

The massive education measure known as House Bill 7055 has received plenty of attention during the legislative session, with its emphasis on decertifying teachers’ unions and using state-backed scholarship programs to steer kids away from public scho...
Published: 02/20/18

Pasco sixth-graders might get to play school sports

Pasco County middle schools are making plans to allow sixth-graders to participate on sports teams next year for the first time.District athletic director Matt Wicks plans to bring a policy revision proposal to the School Board in the next few months...
Published: 02/20/18