Updated: Mar 9, 2020
Post # 105, Bob McKnight's Florida Commentary
I remember Florida House Speaker Don Tucker (D., Tallahassee) admonishing the 1974 Special Session of the Legislature that only one bill had to pass--the annual budget. Although all of us, especially the Freshman like me, felt our bills were critical for our state, the Speaker was right. The popular Volkswagen commercial then was "Less is More." It fit perfectly.
So fast forward to today. Same message, the only bill that has to pass is the budget. But look what is garnering the legislator's valuable time and headlines--UF to absorb smaller universities. Other than growing or decreasing the size of a couple of Florida public universities, why is this taking up the valuable time of elected representatives, when the budget awaits action?
Here is whey they should not be working on this education meddling bill:
1. The governance of the upper level public education system should start with the professionals--like the universities themselves asking for help, the Department of Education, and the Board of Regents. None of those have been involved in this bill, from what I can ascertain.
2. Generally consolidation or deconsolidation of any education institutions should have benefits--improving the education product, increasing distribution or saving administrative costs, among others. None of these appear to be the case here.
3. Public issues should be decided in the public. The negotiations of this phantom bill arose from secret negotiations in the House of Representatives or the Senate, or both. My guess is some well heeled lobbyist is behind this move, paid by some clients that will financially benefit from this action.
4. Other than speculate on the best merger partner, little leadership has come from Governor DeSantis on this bill. This would be a perfect time for the kind of leadership we had during the Golden Age of the Florida Legislature--Reuben Askew, Bob Graham, Lawton Chiles, and Jeb Bush.
5. The Legislature has too much time on their hands. Now is the time to finish the budget and go home--early and save us some money and aggravation. They have too much time on their hands.