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Politics Florida governor vetoes budget for online learning amid pandemic

03:35  01 july  2020
03:35  01 july  2020 Source:   thehill.com

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The governor ’s office and the Department of Education have been publicly silent about the sudden, sweeping Complete Florida veto , leading some higher education officials to The Florida Academic Library Services Cooperative, a virtual campus program that hosts online journals, e-books and other

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Ron DeSantis et al. standing next to a person in a suit and tie: Florida governor vetoes budget for online learning amid pandemic © Provided by The Hill Florida governor vetoes budget for online learning amid pandemic

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) vetoed the budget for a package of online education programs that have played key roles for students and educators during the coronavirus pandemic.

DeSantis's veto, issued Monday, killed the $29.4 million budget for the Complete Florida Plus Program, which provides online platforms that have become more prominent as students and teachers adopt distance learning. Among other programs, the veto will scrap a database of online courses and an online library service.

Over 2,000 adult students could lose their scholarships, and roughly 150 employees in Tallahassee, Gainesville and Pensacola could lose their jobs, according to Politico.

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The budget also poses a political balancing act for the Republican governor . With coronavirus causing a dramatic downturn in sales taxes, the state ’s budget Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced that he vetoed billion worth of projects and line items from the state budget that goes into effect

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Complete Florida will go offline at midnight without any new sources of funding, meaning that library databases, among other tools, would become unavailable in the middle of the college summer semester.

The cut was part of a broader veto of $1 billion from Florida's 2020-21 budget as the state tries to grapple with a burgeoning outbreak of the coronavirus.

"Our current economic landscape is vastly different since the Legislature passed this budget in March. As Governor, I must remain a mindful steward of taxpayer dollars. This budget reflects a steadfast commitment to Floridians by safeguarding important investments in key areas including education, the environment, infrastructure, public safety and morel," DeSantis said in a statement.

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The state budget for the fiscal year that begins Wednesday will now total .2 billion. The budget was approved in March, just as DeSantis was shutting down the state to try to prevent the “We feel confident with the reserves that we've accounted for and the vetoes that we've done and another host

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Critics slammed the veto, saying it leaves educators without crucial tools they've come to rely on during the coronavirus pandemic.

"This would be one of the biggest negative impacts in higher education in the last couple decades," Tom Messner, executive dean of Library Learning Commons at Florida State College at Jacksonville, told Politico. "It just seems like an error."

The State University System defended the move, saying it is working to collaborate with other bodies to implement new programs.

"The Governor's veto provides a pathway for the planned transition of programs that are essential to universities and colleges, including online education services, out of the University of West Florida (UWF). The State University System is collaborating with UWF and the Florida Department of Education to ensure a smart and strategic plan for the transition of the essential programs," it said in a statement.

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Many people in the Peterborough region hit campsites this weekend after officials gave the go-ahead for Friday. Tricia Mason made her way to Beavermead Park in Peterborough to check out how people are “roughing it” in the new normal of the pandemic .

"This transition allows us to address previously identified challenges within the Complete Florida Plus Program, while continuing the critical components that are of great benefit to our college and university students. We are confident that new management will improve oversight and decision-making processes."


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