Monday, February 18, 2013

Dudley blasts Florida Polytech's request for additional funding

Posted By on Mon, Feb 18, 2013 at 5:17 PM

Dwight Dudley
  • Dwight Dudley
It was about a year ago you might recall all the sturm and drang in Tallahassee revolving around Polk County's state Senator J.D. Alexander's push to have USF Polytech sever its relationship with USF and become its own state university in Lakeland.

Among the criticism was how much extra it would cost the state, but Alexander assured everyone that that the tax dollars previously allotted for USF-Poly would simply roll over to the new Polytechnic University and everyone would be happy.

Well, that ain't the way it's going, and last week he Polytechnic Board of Trustees recently decided to ask the Legislature for an extra $25 million to finish its first building.

Recently elected Pinellas House Democrat Dwight Dudley is not amused.

In a statement, the attorney turned lawmaker says FPU request comes when the rest of the state's universities are still smarting from the massive cuts the Legislature has made to higher education over the past few years.

“Is this money being used to lure away top-notch instructors?," Dudley asks. "Is it necessary to launch some sort of cutting-edge research project? Unfortunately, neither is the case. This $25 million—which will be added to the $88 million that USF was forced to part with in order to spawn Florida Polytechnic—is being used to build a lavish, ornate building that, judging from an artist’s rendering, calls to mind images from the realm of science fiction. The truth of the matter is that Florida does not need another university. What we need is more funding for the universities that we have. Florida has some of the best colleges in the country, along with some of the most knowledgeable and skilled faculty. If we are going to allocate millions of dollars to higher education, let us direct those dollars toward the students—not a ridiculous eyesore.”

Recently Polytech administrators have spoken optimistically about being ready to open by the fall of 2014, and ultimately get accreditation by 2016.

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