Senate Backs Early Independence for USF-Polytechnic in Lakeland

The Florida Senate agreed on Thursday, 35-4, to designate $39 million in the next fiscal year to the independence movement of the University of South Florida-Polytechnic in Lakeland.

The money, which is part of the USF funding that would have gone to the Lakeland campus, will be placed under the direction of a new board of trustees that will oversee the separation effort and creation of a campus that is focused on science, technology, engineering and math, and has been a legacy effort of Senate Budget Committee Chairman Sen. J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales.

Last fall, the Florida Board of Governors set a list of benchmarks for the Polytechnic campus to be spun off into an independent university, including receiving accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Accreditation typically takes three to five years.

Sens. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, Greg Evers, R-Crestview, and Steve Oelrich, R-Gainesville, voted against the bill.

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