House and Senate lawmakers agreed on a sweeping plan to create an independent Florida Polytechnic University and slash university spending by $300 million, paving the way for an ending to the legislative session on time Friday.
The agreement on higher education funding, and Senate Budget Chairman JD Alexander’s insistence on writing the independent Florida Polytechnic into law, resolved the final major hurdle on a state budget for the year beginning July 1 that will likely land at around $70 billion.
Alexander (R-Lake Wales) and House Appropriations Chairwoman Denise Grimsley (R-Sebring) said the final size of the package hadn’t yet been calculated.
Florida Polytechnic will become the 12th state university on July 1, after months of pressure by Alexander to break off the Lakeland campus of the University of South Florida into its own institution. The Board of Governors laid out a series of benchmarks for Polytechnic to achieve on the road to independence.