Sunday, May 20, 2018
Education

Gov. Rick Scott creates 'blue ribbbon' task force to study university system

TALLAHASSEE — After rejecting university leaders' requests for more funding and vetoing a proposal to allow some universities to impose unlimited tuition increases, Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Friday announced a task force to evaluate the state's university system and suggest ideas for reform.

"The state has a vested interest in ensuring its higher education system produces world-class talent," Scott said in a press release. "It's time to assess the progress of prior reform efforts and identify strategies to improve efficiencies and enhance the system's effectiveness as an economic catalyst."

The seven-member "Blue Ribbon Task Force on State Higher Education Reform" will be chaired by Dr. Dale Brill, a Florida State University faculty member and president of the Florida Chamber Foundation.

The Board of Governors, which oversees the state's university system, appointed board member Joe Caruncho and University of North Florida President John Delaney to the task force. Legislative leaders will select the other four members.

The group is expected to deliver recommendations in writing by Nov. 15.

Dean Colson, chair of the Board of Governors, said he welcomes the task force and hopes it will help accelerate goals the board has already set.

Those include increasing the number of degrees the university system awards and having at least five of its 11 universities ranked in the top 50 nationally.

Incoming Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, and House Speaker-designate Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, say they haven't narrowed down whom they will appoint, but they want their candidates to focus on helping graduates get jobs in their degree fields.

"Sometimes it's helpful to have a fresh view from outside the ivory tower," Gaetz said.

Scott recently signed into law a controversial proposal to create Florida Polytechnic, the state's 12th university. And he signed a state budget that slices $300 million from university funding.

Scott delivered a fresh blow to university officials last week when he vetoed a proposal to allow unlimited tuition hikes at universities that met 11 of 14 performance-based benchmarks. The criteria included high GPAs of incoming freshmen and a high amount of research activity. Only the University of Florida and Florida State University would have qualified. In his veto letter, Scott said he was uneasy about raising tuition when so many graduates are unemployed and saddled with debt.

Higher education will again be heavily debated in the 2013 legislative session, and the purpose of the board is to come up with fresh ideas, Weatherford said.

"It bodes well for us to come with solutions everyone can live with," he said.

Brittany Alana Davis can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Eckerd College hosts a royal celebration of its own

Eckerd College hosts a royal celebration of its own

A day after England’s royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, St. Petersburg hosted a royal celebration of its own.Among the estimated 500 graduates to receive an Eckerd College diploma at Sunday’s graduation ceremony held at Tropicana ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
At vigil, another school mourns: ‘It is hope in the face of tragedy that brings us together today.’

At vigil, another school mourns: ‘It is hope in the face of tragedy that brings us together today.’

SANTA FE, Texas - They gathered here by the dozens Friday evening, wearing their school colors, T-shirts that said "Texas Tough," while huddling under the shade of a gaggle of pine trees, not 11 hours after the first shots were fired.They came to pra...
Published: 05/19/18
‘I always felt it would eventually happen here’: A Santa Fe High School survivor’s reaction to the shooting

‘I always felt it would eventually happen here’: A Santa Fe High School survivor’s reaction to the shooting

Paige Curry tried to keep calm Friday morning as a gunman tore through her Santa Fe High School, eventually killing 10 people and injuring another 10. The 17-year-old watched as a girl nearby panicked. Curry, herself terrified, considered running out...
Published: 05/19/18
Class of 2018: Meet the valedictorians and salutatorians for Pinellas private high schools

Class of 2018: Meet the valedictorians and salutatorians for Pinellas private high schools

Before they could get away, we asked the top graduates at Pinellas County’s private schools to write a Twitter-length paragraph about what’s on their mind. We suggested they reflect on the past or the future, or talk about the people who helped them ...
Published: 05/18/18
Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

TAMPA — For those who fear there is no hope, or help, or heart left in this world, there is the story of Anita Morgan.There are any number of life-wrenching places to begin …In the middle of the night, in the back of a police car, cruising over the b...
Published: 05/18/18
Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

TAMPA — For those who fear there is no hope, or help, or heart left in this world, there is the story of Anita Morgan.There are any number of life-wrenching places to begin …In the middle of the night, in the back of a police car, cruising over the b...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Florida teacher accused of drowning raccoons in class placed on leave

Florida teacher accused of drowning raccoons in class placed on leave

A Florida teacher was placed on administrative leave after school officials were told that he had students help him drown wild raccoons during class.A 14-second video published by CBS affiliate WKMG showed a group of students filling a tub of water u...
Published: 05/17/18
The US spends less on children than almost any other developed nation

The US spends less on children than almost any other developed nation

The federal government now spends less than it did about 30 years ago on some of the country’s poorest children, the result of cuts to federal welfare programs, according to a new research paper.In 1990, the government spent about $8,700 on every chi...
Published: 05/17/18
Two gifts on graduation day: white Crocs, and a lesson that ‘it can’t hurt to ask’

Two gifts on graduation day: white Crocs, and a lesson that ‘it can’t hurt to ask’

ST. PETERSBURG — Sarah Agee and her friends never pictured themselves wearing Crocs to their graduation. But the foam shoes were comfortable, offered better footing than heels, and now the Seminole High seniors had a story to tell.It all started a li...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/17/18
Romano: Instead of securing schools, lawmakers saved themselves

Romano: Instead of securing schools, lawmakers saved themselves

I said it two months ago, and it’s only become more obvious since then:The bipartisan school safety proposal passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor had more to do with protecting the rear ends of politicians than the lives of students.I...
Published: 05/16/18