Tags: Coronavirus | desantis | florida | covid | education

DeSantis Kills Florida Online Education Program Budget Amid Virus Surge

gov. ron desantis removes a mask to speak at a press conference
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis prepares to take his face mask before speaking during a press conference at the Miami Beach Convention Center on April 08, 2020 in Miami Beach, Florida.  (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 30 June 2020 06:51 PM

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Tuesday killed the state's $29.4 million budget for the Complete Florida Plus Program, a suite of online education services that faculty, staff, and students in the state's public schools and colleges have relied on during shutdowns over the coronavirus pandemic. 

The cuts will end a database of online courses and an online library service providing 17 million books to 1.3 million users, reports Politico, and could cut at least 2,000 adult learners off from scholarships and school accreditation. 

Further, some 150 employees based in Tallahassee, Gainesville, and Pensacola could lose their jobs, unless action happens before midnight Tuesday to stop the budget cuts. 

DeSantis' office refused to comment about the cuts, but on Monday vetoed $1 billion from the state's 2020-2021 budget. Some higher education officials have wondered if there was a mistake, as both the governor's office and the Department of Education have been silent about the sudden cuts. 

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

At midnight, the budget year will kick in and Complete Florida will be taken offline, as it will have no budget or spending authority. 

In addition, the Florida Academic Library Services Cooperative virtual campus program housing online journals, e-books, and other resources will be defunded, along with the Complete Florida Degree Program that helps former college students complete their degrees. 

Meanwhile, college summer schools will lose library databases at a time when classes remain mostly online. 

Complete Florida's budget has been in focus since last year, when library administrators accused the University of West Florida, which oversees it, of siphoning money away from state programs. Earlier this year, the Florida Senate created the program from the university's budget. 

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Tuesday killed the state's $29.4 million budget for the Complete Florida Plus Program, a suite of online education services that faculty, staff, and students in the state's public schools and colleges have relied on during shutdowns over the...
desantis, florida, covid, education
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2020-51-30
Tuesday, 30 June 2020 06:51 PM
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