Education officials urge Scott to put down veto penby John Kennedy | May 19th, 2011
State education officials are trying to get Gov. Rick Scott to back away from his veiled threat earlier this week to veto millions of dollars in college and university building projects to ease the state’s rising tide of red ink.
Ava Parker, chair of the State University System’s Board of Governors, wrote Scott assuring him Thursday that the robust list of bond-financed projects — topping $123 million– was needed repairs, renovations and expansions by the schools.
“Governor, you can be assured that the entire list of State University System PECO projects as listed in the 2011 state budget on your desk adheres to all standards, were approved by their respective university boards of trustees, and are among the top priorities for the State University System,” Parker wrote, urging the chief executive to contact her or Chancellor Frank Brogan before wielding his veto pen.
Locally, among the projects is $3.2 million for new roofs and other maintenance at Florida Atlantic University.
More troubling, however, may be the $46 million worth of campus expansion, new buildings and renovations wedged in by Senate budget chief J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, for his favored University of South Florida Polytechnic in Lakeland.
More than $100 million in Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) projects for the state college system also is getting a close look. Included among them is $7.3 million for a west campus building at Palm Beach State College.
The governor also may be looking toward at least one that could be seasoned with pork: a $7 million classroom building at Pasco-Hernando Community College, included in the budget late and in the hometown of House speaker-in-waiting Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel.
Scott has until June 1 to act on the $69.7 billion budget approved earlier this month by lawmakers.