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Florida House and Senate leaders have set aside less money for education in their initial budget outlines than did Gov. Rick Scott.

Both House and Senate leaders have expressed doubts about Scott's $480 million plan to give teachers a $2,500 across-the-board raise. Scott's budget would have spent $14.3 billion on education.

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Curtis Nyarko is putting in a lot of late nights followed by early mornings at the lab – hoping to snare a high wage job in a high-tech field.

Nyarko is a junior at Florida State University majoring in biology. He wants to stay in Florida and pursue a career in medicine.

Nyarko says his STEM degree — science, technology, engineering and math — will be worth it.

“This degree is not an easy degree at all. But at the end of it all when you have your career – and it’s a good career – it is worth it,” Nyarko said. “You know, nothing great comes without great sacrifice.”

State University System Board of Governors (BOG) Chairman Dean Colson wrote Florida Polytechnic University board of trustees chairman Rob Gidel, requesting that he make a presentation on the status of the polytechnic. "Given the news reports of Florida Polytechnic's intent to request $25 million from the Legislature, I would also ask that the presentation include specific information on any perceived funding shortfalls not covered in Florida Polytechnic's initial budget or by way of exemptions granted in SB 1994," Colson said. The next week, Florida Poly Chief Operating Officer Ava Parker advised the board against asking for additional funds, saying it would be "more prudent to wait at this point." Gidel said he will attend the meeting, which will be held in Tallahassee on March 27 and 28.

Prosecutors are charging 12 former Florida A&M University band members with manslaughter in the 2011 hazing death of a drum major.

Florida school districts will lose more than $85 million after President Obama and Congress failed to reach a compromise to avoid automatic federal budget cuts.

The cuts -- known as sequestration -- trim $85 billion for the military, schools, airports, national parks and other programs.

StateImpact Florida reporter John O'Connor spoke with WUSF's Craig Kopp about just how soon school districts will start feeling the pinch.

Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, told The Ledger Wednesday that he did not call Florida's newest university a "disaster," as had earlier been reported. He said his remarks to the editorial board of the Tampa Tribune earlier in the week were directed toward a request by Florida Polytechnic for additional state funds.

While Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford says Florida Polytechnic University is "a disaster" that could use an outside ally, he's looking for an entity more like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and not USF -- the university Florida Poly was spun off from.

Speaking to the Tampa Tribune editorial board, the Wesley Chapel Republican presented what he admits is "a crazy idea... go talk to MIT or CalTech or Stanford and see if they want to have a satellite campus in Florida."

Moffitt inventors earn national recognition

Feb 21, 2013

One helped bring the nascent Internet into our homes and now hopes to send tiny robotic cameras and surgical instruments into our bodies. Another maintains that solar power must play a significant role in U.S. energy needs. Another demonstrated that bone marrow and stem cells can be transformed into neural cells that may help victims of stroke, spinal cord injury and Lou Gehrig's disease. Five University of South Florida professors, along with the head of Moffitt Cancer Center who holds a joint appointment to USF, have now been recognized for their career accomplishments by being named charter fellows in the National Academy of Inventors. The accolades reflect the fact that USF is now the No. 1 university in the state in generating patents.

Florida lawmakers are considering allowing the state education commissioner to partially delay implementation of new, tougher education standards and testing.

Senate education committee chairman John Legg, R-Port Richey, says Education Commissioner Tony Bennett has asked for 120 days to survey Florida school districts as to whether they can meet the fall 2014 deadline for new education standards.

StateImpact Florida, WUSF's education reporting project, is co-hosting an online chat about education on Tuesday.

We'll talk about issues like proposed teacher salary increases and whether charter school teachers should be evaluated the same way traditional public school teachers are. Senate President Don Gaetz says they should not. 

We'll also talk about Florida lawmakers potentially delaying the implementation of new, tougher education standards and tests under Common Core, and anything else you want to discuss. 

A few busloads of students from all three University of South Florida campuses will be heading to Tallahassee on Tuesday to meet with state lawmakers.

At least 70 students, along with university officials including President Judy Genshaft and head football coach Willie Taggart, will take part in USF Day at the Capitol.

They'd like to talk to legislators about a number of issues, including in-state tuition for veterans.

But USF Student Government President Brian Goff says the major topic of discussion will be funding for higher education.

Chris Urso /

In a move that's prompting a round of "I told you so's" from critics, Florida Polytechnic University trustees are asking state legislators for $25 million in additional funding.

The Tampa Tribune reports those who stood opposed to creating the new university last year are again voicing their displeasure.

"I told my colleagues and I told the governor last year that this was going to be a monstrous cost," said state Rep. Mike Fasano, a Republican from New Port Richey who was in the Senate at the time. "Very few people wanted to listen. Now it's coming back to haunt them."

The Newtown, Connecticut elementary school shooting has revived the debate in many state legislatures over new gun laws as well as school security and mental health care.

After holding roundtable discussions with gun owners, teachers and law enforcement officers, State Rep. Linda Stewart of Orlando came to a conclusion about Florida’s elementary schools.

Florida Southern College in Lakeland is home to a collection of buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The college is making way for six more F.L. Wright-inspired structures. These new structures will only be 5 feet tall- they're for cats.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Students who transfer to the University of South Florida can still earn a degree at their former school.

USF and four Tampa Bay colleges signed a "reverse transfer" agreement Monday.

That means when a student completes a class a USF, the credits can count toward an associate's degree at Hillsborough Community College, Pasco-Hernando Community College, Polk State College and St. Petersburg College.

HCC president Ken Atwater says students who earn enough credits at USF will automatically receive their degree.

Sun 'n Fun

A group of about 200 schoolchildren, teachers, local officials and aviation buffs gathered  to watch a Boeing 727 aircraft make its final landing at Lakeland Linder airport's Sun 'n Fun campus Friday.

Rocky the Bull- USF's mascot, is asking people to cast their votes on Twitter for the university. USF is nominated for a Shorty Award which honors those who produce real-time short content across social media websites like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Tumblr. USF is ranked fifth out of 174 nominated schools.

Private schools in Florida are coming together to share their resources in case of a school emergency.

Dana Markham is the president of Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale. She says private, independent schools don’t have a support network the way public schools do.

Public middle and high schools, for example, share School Resource Officers — police officers who visit school campuses every day. Markham says if private schools want a police officer on their campuses, they have to pay an off-duty officer and hire them through a law enforcement agency.

Pinellas County's elected officials have been quietly discussing whether to place armed officers in the county's 72 elementary schools, but the idea is opposed by the county's largest law enforcement agencies, the Tampa Bay Times has learned.

Across the United States, college administrators are poring over student essays, recommendation letters and SAT scores as they select a freshman class for the fall.

If this is like most years, administrators at top schools such as Harvard and Stanford will try hard to find talented high school students from poor families in a push to increase the socioeconomic diversity on campus and to counter the growing concern that highly selective colleges cater mainly to students from privileged backgrounds.