State/National News

Critics Say Haphazard, Politically Driven University System Hampers Florida

By Lloyd Dunkelberger,
Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Saturday, April 28, 2012

In 1980, a powerful state senator decided his hometown university needed a football stadium.

As Senate president, he inserted the provision into the budget bill. But the governor rejected plan, noting the University of West Florida in Pensacola did not even have a football team.

The episode underscores how often raw politics trumps thoughtful policy in Florida’s higher-education system – a point driven home again this month with Gov. Rick Scott’s approval of a new polytechnic university in Lakeland, sought by an influential lawmaker, Senate Budget Chairman J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales.

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