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JD Alexander

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Members of the State University System's Board of Governors said Thursday they were disappointed that Florida's newest university will miss the original deadline for getting accredited, a designation that can affect students' job prospects and ability to receive financial aid.

Florida Polytechnic University will name its campus after former Senate Budget Chairman JD Alexander, who spearheaded the move to create the Lakeland school.

Chris Urso / TBO.com

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."

When USF President Judy Genshaft calls the budget deal "very, very, very good," you know it must be for the university.

Leaders in the Florida House and Senate have agreed on a budget that largely spares the University of South Florida from the disproportionate budget cuts proposed by the state Senate.

The price: agreeing to grant independence to USF Polytechnic, which will become Florida Polytechnic, the state's 12th university.

It may have been a slow session at the Florida Legislature this year, but that hasn’t stopped drama from breaking out in the state Senate.

An attempted coup over who would be the future state Senate president. The failure of prison privatization. And a continuing fight over the parent trigger bill.

It reveals the split between moderates and conservatives in the state Senate, according to Peter Schorsch. He’s a political consultant and the man behind award-winning SaintPetersBlog.com.

USF Poly Puts Staff, Student Recruitment On Hold

Mar 2, 2012
Phil Coale / Associated Press

The University of South Florida Polytechnic is not recruiting faculty or students while lawmakers debate the school's future, its interim regional chancellor told The Lakeland Ledger.

From the story:

It's not an atmosphere under which a quality academic staff can be drawn in, said Touchton  "We just feel like we need to wait and see what happens."  Advertisements ­previously posted for various open positions have been discontinued.

It looks like Senate budget chairman JD Alexander of Lake Wales might win his battle for an independent Florida Polytechnic in Polk County.

Now, Martin Van Sickler of the Tampa Bay Times has a story that implies Alexander might be getting another big project for his home county: funding for a new expressway.

It's $35 million, and although faithful readers of the Polk County papers might have known it was in the budget,  this story came as a surprise to many folks.

We’ve been asked by several of our listeners about WUSF’s relationship to USF as the station covers the fight over budget cuts to the university. I’d like to take this opportunity to answer some of them.

Why don’t you put a disclaimer on every story you run on USF?

WUSF is part of the University of South Florida. I believe that is very clear to our audience.

USF is part of our call letters. We often announce that we’re a service of the University of South Florida.

USF President Judy Genshaft says there’s one positive side effect of almost having $128 million cut from the budget: seeing the Tampa Bay delegation and community rally around USF.

“We believe the University of South Florida is very strong and will remain strong. And we’ve shown this strength through the outpouring of comments and e-mails and calls,” she said.

“The legislators have heard very loudly that the University of South Florida system: Don’t mess with it.”

Senator JD Alexander has said the the way USF supporters have portrayed proposed budget cuts is unfair.

He says the cuts proposed for USF are justified because of the university's reserves and not that different from other similar institutions, such as UCF.

On Florida Matters, we interviewed USF President Judy Genshaft about how she's dealing with the budget fight and what she calls a "crisis."

Since the Florida Senate unveiled a budget that could lead to over 100 million dollars in cuts to the University of South Florida, reaction has been fast and furious.

When it came to the Senate's proposed budget, USF Vice Provost for Strategic Planning and Budget, Graham Tobin expected his university to take a hit--but not the kind of wallop the Senate delivered.

"We were anticipating some budget cuts given the mood of the state and the politicians, but the degree of change was significant, and, yes, there was some shock."

Some Tampa Bay lawmakers are reacting with anger and defiance to a Senate proposal to cut 58 percent of state funding for the University of South Florida.

Those proposed cuts are more than twice as big as the proposed reductions for other universities, according to an analysis by USF.

Senate Finance Chairman J.D. Alexander of Lake Wales pushed for the cuts after USF President Judy Genshaft opposed him on independence for USF Polytechnic.

Senator Mike Fasano of New Port Richey didn't mince words today in describing what he thinks of Alexander's actions:

The University of South Florida Board of Trustees is launching a campaign to convince the Florida State Senate not to impose a budget that would cut 58 percent of USF's funding. Other universities face cuts, but more in the 20 to 25 percent range.

At an emergency meeting last night, the trustees discussed the potential impact of the cuts, which include unfunded spending commitments for USF Polytechnic, which would immediate become independent under the Senate legislation.