Thursday, April 19, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Porter campus signals college's new identity

Pasco Hernando Community College is poised to become a big man on campus by changing its name, expanding its mission and moving into new digs in Wesley Chapel. The $45 million Porter Campus at Wiregrass Ranch is scheduled to be completed this month and open to students in January while the college rebrands itself as Pasco Hernando State College and begins offering four-year degrees in applied sciences and nursing.

The state investment is welcome as the college expands post-secondary opportunities in a high-growth, but under-served region of Pasco County. Three years ago, the college reported more than 1,800 students from Lutz, Land O'Lakes, Wesley Chapel and Zephyrhills attended PHCC's other campuses.

The health care curriculum is particularly noteworthy. The Florida Center for Nursing projects a statewide shortage of 56,000 registered nurses by 2025, an eightfold increase over current estimates triggered by nursing retirements, growing health care demands from an aging population and an influx of new patients from the federal Affordable Health Care Act. Estimates from the state nursing center also reveal the nursing workforce in Pasco and Hernando counties currently is several hundred people short of filling demand.

The college is seeking to help fill that void. Its Porter campus features, as its centerpiece, an eight-story building with three decks of parking, a mezzanine and four floors of classrooms and science, computer and health labs. Enrollment capacity will be 2,400 students initially, but the 60-acre site includes room for expansion and the location is expected to become the busiest of the college's five campuses.

Future challenges likely will be financial. Despite an appropriations boost from the Legislature earlier this year, state funding for the 28 state colleges, on a per-student basis, is 20 percent lower now than it was seven years ago.

At the same time, enrollment is up 22 percent with the colleges adding the equivalent of 64,500 full-time students statewide.

The Legislature was wise to try to reverse the trend in 2013, but more work remains. Short-changing investments in public education is counterproductive particularly in the state college system where 93 percent of the graduates remain in Florida to work and contribute to the economy.

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Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

A new foster care provider in Hillsborough County is poised to take over operations in May, only months after its predecessor was fired for what was alleged to be a pattern of failing to supervise at-risk children in its care. Many of the case manage...
Published: 04/18/18

Another voice: Back to postal reform

President Donald Trump is angry at Amazon for, in his tweeted words, "costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy." Yet in more recent days, Trump has at least channeled his feelings in what could prove...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

A bipartisan Senate bill clarifying that only the attorney general or a high-ranking designee could remove a special prosecutor would send an important message amid President Donald Trump’s attacks on the investigation into Russia’s inter...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18
Editorial: Donít fall for Constitution Revision Commissionís tricks

Editorial: Donít fall for Constitution Revision Commissionís tricks

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission has wasted months as a politically motivated scam masquerading as a high-minded effort to ask voters to improve the stateís fundamental document. The commission on Monday added amendments to the November b...
Published: 04/16/18
Editorial: Rednerís court win on medical marijuana sends message

Editorial: Rednerís court win on medical marijuana sends message

Florida regulators have done far too little to make voter-approved medical marijuana widely available for patients suffering from chronic illnesses. A circuit court judge in Tallahassee ruled last week there is a price for that obstruction, finding t...
Published: 04/15/18
Updated: 04/16/18
Editorial: Hillsborough commission should quit expanding urban area

Editorial: Hillsborough commission should quit expanding urban area

Any movement on modernizing local transportation is welcome, even small steps like the million dollars the state recently approved to design a Tampa Bay regional transit plan.But the region wonít make any progress on transportation, its single most p...
Published: 04/13/18
Updated: 04/18/18

Editorial: Fight harder on citrus greening

A new report by scientists advising the federal government finds no breakthrough discovery for managing citrus greening, a chronic disease killing Floridaís citrus industry. This should be a wake-up call to bring greater resources to the fight.The re...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18

Editorial: Floridians should focus more on health

A new snapshot of the nationís health shows a mixed picture for Florida and the challenges that residents and the health care community face in improving the quality of life.Americans are living longer, exercising more and doing better at managing th...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18
Editorial: 5 key issues where Scott, Nelson differ in Senate race

Editorial: 5 key issues where Scott, Nelson differ in Senate race

Gov. Rick Scott kicked off his U.S. Senate campaign last week by reciting tired lines about career politicians and mischaracterizing himself as an outsider. That pitch may have worked during the tea party wave eight years ago, but now the Republican ...
Published: 04/10/18
Updated: 04/13/18
Editorial: St. Petersburg should move carefully on banning straws

Editorial: St. Petersburg should move carefully on banning straws

St. Petersburg city officials are exploring how to cut down on single-use plastic straws, a commendable effort to make the city even more environmentally minded. But to succeed, City Council members should craft a modest, reasonable restriction that ...
Published: 04/10/18