St. Petersburg Times Online: News of Florida
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
  • Schools press for local control
  • Teen charged with killing 2 rare cranes
  • In foster system, they're a commodity
  • Pilot lands early for bomb search

  • From the state wire

  • Hurricane Jeanne appears on track to hit Florida's east coast
  • Rumor mill working overtime after Florida hurricanes
  • Developments associated with Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne
  • Four killed in Panhandle plane crash were on Ivan charity mission
  • Hurricane Frances caused estimated $4.4 billion in insured damage
  • Disabled want more handicapped-accessible voting machines
  • USF forces administrators to resign over test score changes
  • Man's death at Universal Studios ruled accidental
  • State child welfare workers in Miami fail to do background checks
  • Hurricane Jeanne heads toward southeast U.S. coast
  • Hurricane Jeanne spurs more anxiety for storm-weary Floridians
  • Mistrial declared in case where teen was target of racial "joke"
  • Panhandle utility wants sewer plant moved to higher ground
  • State employee arrested on theft, bribery charges
  • Homestead house fire kills four children, one adult
  • Pierson leader tries to cut off relief to local fern cutters
  • Florida's high court rules Terri's law unconstitutional
  • Jacksonville students punished for putting stripper pole in dorm
  • FEMA handling nearly 600,000 applications for help
  • Man who killed wife, niece, self also killed mother in 1971
  • Producer sues city over lead ball fired by Miami police
  • Tourism suffers across Florida after pummeling by hurricanes
  • Key dates in the life of Terri Schiavo
  • An excerpt from the unanimous ruling in the Schiavo case
  • Four confirmed dead after small plane crash in Panhandle
  • Correction: Disney-Cruise Line story

    printer version

    Schools press for local control

    The presidents of Florida's 10 universities want each school to be regulated by local boards after the Board of Regents is disbanded.


    © St. Petersburg Times, published December 6, 2000

    Speaking for all of Florida's university presidents, Modesto Maidique told a state task force Tuesday that he and his colleagues want to be governed by local boards of trustees once the Board of Regents is abolished.

    Maidique, the president of Florida International University in Miami, said the local boards should have the power to fire presidents who don't meet their standards, and to hire replacements.

    "I personally want to be hired and fired by someone who knows what I'm doing," said Maidique, who said his comments reflected a consensus reached by the presidents during a meeting last week.

    This is new ground for Florida's university leaders, who have said little about the particulars of the plan to eliminate the regents except to object loudly when it was proposed by state lawmakers.

    That strategy changed at Tuesday's meeting of the Education Governance Reorganization Task Force in Miami. Maidique said the presidents now want to work closely with the 11-member panel, which is devising a plan to overhaul Florida's entire education system, from kindergarten to postgraduate work.

    He said, for example, that the presidents have decided to oppose the creation of a statewide coordinating body that some experts say would help prevent turf battles between increasingly independent universities.

    That stance seems to be a rather abrupt about-face. Last month, the regents released a report that said all 10 presidents support the creation of such a board.

    But the new position is right in line with the task force's thinking.

    Maidique said there were things the presidents couldn't say until it was clear the regents were going out of business, which now appears likely to happen in July.

    Maidique's conciliatory message was a welcome surprise for the task force, which saw the presidents as the only real impediment to their efforts to decentralize higher education governance.

    "Wow. Say it again. That's great," said Phil Handy, the task force chairman.

    Former House Speaker John Thrasher, a member of the task force, asked Maidique about the comments of E.T. York, the former university system chancellor who thinks the regents are being eliminated because they refused to approve the pet projects of state lawmakers.

    As evidence, York has cited the board's recent opposition to a new medical school at Florida State University and to new law colleges at FIU and Florida A&M University.

    All were eventually approved by lawmakers, anyway.

    Maidique said his view was more "evolutionary" than the former chancellor's.

    When the regents were created 35 years ago, Florida had two large universities and several new ones trying to find their footing, he said.

    Now, by most measures, the state has one national-class research institution in the University of Florida, and three others moving quickly in that direction.

    "Each of those universities has become so complex they need their own boards," said Maidique, who said the regents were being asked to do too much.

    The task force, which will resume its meeting this morning, has until March 1 to submit its final recommendations to the Legislature, which has the final say over the higher education reorganization.

    But some likely elements are becoming clear.

    The task force is expected to recommend that each university be allowed to set its own tuition and fees, and to create new undergraduate and master's degree programs without seeking state permission. The universities also would get to decide which faculty members deserve tenure.

    The authority for such decisions would lie with the university boards, nine-member bodies that would be appointed by the governor. Above them would be a seven-member state Board of Education.

    Under draft recommendations circulated by the task force, the state board would have final authority over the hiring and firing of presidents, though the local boards could submit up to three nominees.

    University of South Florida President Judy Genshaft was at last week's meeting of the presidents. Her spokesman, Jack Wheat, said she does not support the regents' elimination.

    But if it is to happen, he said, Genshaft would prefer governing authority be moved as close to the university level as possible.

    Back to State news
    Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
    Special Links
    Lucy Morgan

    From the Times state desk