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$450,000 earmarked for Lecanto campus

The Lecanto campus of Central Florida Community College (CFCC) would get $450,000 from the state in the next fiscal year under Gov. Bob Martinez' proposed 1990-91 state budget. That was the only special item for Citrus County in the governor's budget. The county also would receive $51.8-million for public schools and $625,000 for maintenance of state roads and bridges under the proposal. Every county gets money in those two areas.

The budget, proposed last week, is far from final. Both houses of the Legislature must approve the budget and then return it to the governor, who can eliminate items. Last year, the Legislature sought $100,000 for CFCC's Lecanto campus, but Martinez vetoed the financing.

"The recommendations they make are always more than is available, so we'll keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best," said Charles Hayes, associate vice president for administration at CFCC's main campus in Ocala.

The $450,000 earmarked for Lecanto is only half the amount that Education Commissioner Betty Castor recommended in her budget proposal, Hayes said. He said the other half might be included in money for CFCC in Marion County, but the governor's budget does not refer specifically to any such allocation.

A Department of Education survey team concluded last summer that the Lecanto campus needs $4.5-million in capital improvements, Hayes said.

Castor's $900,000 recommendation was for renovation of existing buildings and expansion of facilities shared with Lecanto High School, but did not include new construction, he said. The shared facilities include parking spaces and outdoor athletic facilities.

Hayes said he did not know which of Castor's recommendations made it into the governor's budget.

The renovations will add classroom space by converting rooms now used by the high school into college facilities, Hayes said. High school students are expected to move into new rooms in a planned $1.3-million expansion of Lecanto High School.

The governor's proposal for public school money includes a $700,000 increase, to $1.8-million, for construction, said Ron Toft, business services director for the School Board. He did not have a figure for last year to compare with the $51.8-million public schools total.

The bridge and road money is for maintenance, not new construction, state Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Homan said. Citrus has three small road construction projects scheduled for 1990-91 that were not listed in the governor's budget because they will cost less than $1-million, he said.

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