Board Report: January 25, 2012

Board Suspends Library Project, OKs Charter School Grant

(Bradenton, Fla., January 25, 2012) — Citing a decline in state funding for capital projects, changing enrollment trends and new technology, the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) District Board of Trustees voted to suspend a project to replace the outdated Bradenton campus library with a larger library and authorized College officials to terminate existing contracts with the contractor and architect.

Board Chairman Carlos Beruff repeated statements made at a previous Board meeting, emphasizing that trustees recognize that a new library is needed and should maintain its priority position on the state’s construction list.

“We want this Board to have an opportunity to revisit the library planning process and have input so we can effectively make the case for it in Tallahassee and to donors,” Beruff said.

So far, SCF has completed preliminary planning and infrastructure work for the library project.

The Board approved moving forward with an application for a $350,000 state grant to fund the start-up of a proposed charter high school to be located at the College’s campus at 8000 S. Tamiami Trail in Venice.

If awarded, the grant from the Florida Department of Education (DOE) Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice – Public Charter School Grant Program will fund the planning, design and initial implementation of the SCF Arts+Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Collegiate School (SCF A+STEM).

The proposed tuition-free charter high school for grades 10-12 is planned to start in August 2012. The next step in that process is a vote by the Sarasota County School Board, expected in February. Following the School Board’s approval, the SCF Board and Sarasota School Board will enter into contract negotiations per state charter school process and guidelines. The final award of the DOE grant will be contingent on the completion of this process.

SCF President Dr. Lars A. Hafner confirmed that the College Board will have an opportunity to review the full proposal with supporting data before voting on whether to proceed with the charter school.

SCF A+STEM is proposed to build up to approximately 100 students on each grade level for an eventual cap of 300 students. The curriculum will allow students to graduate simultaneously with a high school diploma and an Associate in Arts degree while focusing on achieving admission to baccalaureate programs in STEM fields.

In addition to incorporating strategies that enhance the traditional STEM coursework, the curriculum will include an added emphasis on the arts to highlight creativity and innovative thinking.

The College has received national attention for SCF Collegiate School, located on SCF’s Bradenton campus. Awarded “A” school status by the Florida DOE after its first year, SCFCS is in its second year and presently serves grades six through eight. Applications for the 11th grade currently are being accepted for the 2012 school year.

In her regular report to the Board, Kelly Monod, SCFCS head of school, reported that significant progress has been made in raising reading proficiency levels of the school’s lowest readers. The innovative collegiate school has been selected as one of 56 schools nationwide as an Apple Distinguished School for the 2011-2012 school year. Apple recognized SCFCS for its commitment to foster students’ independent learning by using Mac notebooks and iPads.

The Board also approved:

  • The 2012-2013 academic calendar; Spring Break will be held during the same week as Manatee and Sarasota counties schools.
  • An articulation agreement with the Manatee County School Board.

Dr. Carol Probstfeld, vice president of business and administrative services, discussed SCF’s plans to transition to a new Learning Management System to deliver a quality online learning experience and meet the evolving needs of students. Board members requested more information about the top vendors and asked that SCF students be involved in evaluating the potential systems.

Hafner referred to a report just received from the Florida auditor general that included findings pertaining to when financial aid reports were filed and standard refunds made in Fall 2010.

“As I informed the Board a few months ago, we knew some reports were turned in late when we were in the process of reorganizing the financial aid office and hiring new staff. The findings all have been addressed and the auditors commended us on the efficiency of our current financial aid office,” Hafner said.

In comments, Hafner noted that:

  • SCF received confirmation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges Board that the Institution’s Fifth-Year Report and Level II accreditation report for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program were fully acceptable and required no further action or information.
  • Manatee Memorial Foundation Auxiliary recognized SCF with a certificate of appreciation for providing superior education for medical students who provide reliable health care for the community.
  • As a reward for promoting a Wellness Incentive Program and achieving at least 50 percent participation of college employees, SCF received $10,000 from Blue Cross Blue Shield.
  • SCF Lakewood Ranch has been selected to host Utica College’s Post-Professional Doctor of Physical Therapy Residency Program and a recent reception included Utica’s president and physical therapists and candidates from around the country. Click here to read the full release.
  • At the SCF Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Friday, Jan. 20, honorees included former baseball teammates Pat Osburn and Mac Scarce and the 1988 volleyball team, which was the first team to be inducted into the SCF Athletics Hall of Fame.
  • Board members were invited to participate in College life in several ways including seeing firsthand the process that an entering student experiences and attending the College’s budget and faculty evaluation committee meetings.

Hafner recognized Matt Ennis, athletic director, and Gary Lewis, groundskeeper, for their roles in helping SCF win the prestigious American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) TURFACE Field Maintenance Award in the College Division for the Robert C. Wynn Baseball Field at SCF Bradenton. SCF was the only college in the nation this year to win the award, which recognizes a safe and playable field and recent upgrades made to the overall baseball complex. Click here to read the full release.

Hafner also announced that the SCF Manatees will play the Baltimore Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium this spring.

The next Board meeting is scheduled for Feb. 29 at 8 a.m. at SCF Bradenton.

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