Board Report: August 19

(Bradenton, Fla., August 19, 2009) - Plans progressed for the opening next year of a collegiate school at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) with today's vote by the SCF District Board of Trustees giving college officials approval to proceed. 

At its proposed opening in August 2010, State College of Florida Collegiate School (SCFCS) will start with sixth and seventh grades. When the school reaches capacity in subsequent years it will include sixth through twelfth grades.

The SCF Collegiate School will be a charter school with the emphasis of providing an opportunity for motivated students beginning in middle school to progress seamlessly to college and simultaneously earn a high school diploma and an associate's degree.

As a tuition-free public school created through a charter with Manatee County School Board, SCFCS will operate autonomously from the local school district and will be responsible to the college's board of trustees.

The collegiate school's outreach will emphasize "first generation" students whose parents did not attend college. SCFCS's first class is expected to graduate in 2014.

SCF will be Florida's first state college offering a collegiate school beginning with middle school students, said SCF President Dr. Lars A. Hafner.

Referring to former Gov. Jeb Bush, Hafner said, "I've been in conversations with the governor and I'm excited about incorporating aspects of his vision in our plans, particularly technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. Using the College's resources in technology and bringing in experts from around the country and the world to allow these students to learn at the highest levels, SCFCS can be a model school across the state and nation."

Hafner and his team were invited by Gov. Bush to attend his summit on education in Washington, D.C. "We're looking forward to talking with national and international leaders to bring our vision for SCFCS into sharper focus," Hafner said.

During a workshop prior to the board meeting, experienced educators tapped by SCF to lead the collegiate school development team presented findings from a viability study. Dr. Cynthia Reynolds, special assistant to the president for collegiate schools, and Linda Benware, president of Innovative Education Strategies Inc., expressed the need in the area for a school that fosters "a going to college culture."

 "We would like to see more local high school graduates say, 'I want to go to college.' This collegiate school will have fewer barriers for students to transition from high school to college," Benware said.

In an economic downturn, college graduates are still earning substantially more than people with only a high school diploma, Benware said, citing a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics survey. 

The charter school is designed to give parents another option for a free, quality education.

"The Manatee County School District is doing a good job," Benware said. "We are just looking at what we can do, not because we can do it better, but because we can do it differently as a collegiate school."

Trustee Joe Miller agreed, expressing excitement about having a charter school beginning in middle school when students can begin losing interest in school. 

"We could have a direct impact on students," Miller said. I really believe middle school is where we lose our kids."

SCFCS will be located at the college's campus in Bradenton with outreach efforts focusing on first generation students in Manatee County.

After a discussion about grants and funding available to charter schools, trustees approved proceeding with the charter school while emphasizing that the college would continue to focus on its original higher education mission. Based on trustee Christine Robinson's request, the motion was amended to include recruiting in north Sarasota County pending agreement between the school boards of Manatee and Sarasota counties.

The next step will be to apply to Manatee County School Board.

More information about SCFCS is available at

Trustees started the meeting with their annual organizational meeting, re-electing  Steve Harner as chair and Ron Allen as vice chair and approving the meeting schedule for the year. It is available on the Board of Trustees calendar at Hafner also announced that Gov. Charlie Crist reappointed trustees Jennifer Saslaw and Beverly Beall to serve until 2013.

In other action, the SCF board approved a request to move forward in contract negotiations with architectural firm Long & Associates for the new library at SCF Bradenton.

Vice Chair Ron Allen, who served on the Professional Services Selection Committee, said all architects interviewed for the job emphasized the importance of the library building.

"Each one of those groups came in and told our committee this is probably the most important building we will build on this campus," he said.

The new 90,000-square-foot library planned for the Bradenton campus will be the largest building constructed at SCF, Hafner said.

"It's a signature building," Hafner said. "Libraries are always the landmarks of universities and colleges. It's pivotal as we move forward especially with our baccalaureate programs," he said.

SCF will begin its first baccalaureate program, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, in January 2010. Hafner reported that the pace of applications already has exceeded expectations, mirroring overall college growth.

"This fall semester we will be at around 12,000 students. It just tells you again that the community is excited about the new expanded mission of the College," Hafner said. 

For the first time, SCF was the second fastest-growing college in the 28-member Florida College System for the 2008-09 academic year, according to a recent report from the Florida Department of Education.

SCF headcount grew by an unprecedented 14 percent over the previous year, dramatically outpacing the system's overall modest increase of 3.9 percent. The college added 2,926 students over the last academic year, placing fifth in the system, close behind major metropolitan area colleges including Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Valencia.

SCF has also proposed six new baccalaureate degree programs in energy technology, health services administration, public safety administration/homeland security, technology management, early childhood education (birth through 4), and exceptional student education.

The board also approved the following:

  • A five-year Capital Improvement Program that includes an appropriations request of $11,262,026 for fiscal year 2010-11. Top priorities are construction money funds for the new Library at SCF Bradenton and planning funds to remodel the Gymnasium, Computer Center and Technology Building at SCF Bradenton. Remodeling projects also are planned for the Student Services Building and Library at SCF Venice.
  • A change order for $497,801 to move forward with the process of adding a thermal ice storage system for the chiller plant at SCF Lakewood Ranch. Florida Power and Light will offer a rebate of an estimated $113,000 for electricity savings, costing the College a reduced amount of $384, 801 for the thermal ice storage system.
  • A request to enter into a continuing contract with BMK Architects to provide collegewide architectural services for miscellaneous projects.
  • Acceleration and enrichment program articulation agreements, also known as dual enrollment, with area private schools for the academic year 2009-10.
  • Pending award notification, acceptance of a grant for $200,000 from the United States Department of Justice Community Orientated Policing Technology Program to enhance an emergency notification system that provides overlapping security through voice, data and video communication systems to inform faculty, staff and visitors on SCF's campuses of critical incidents; and a Technology to Enhance Nursing Education grant for $94,050, from the Health Resources & Services Administration to assist in purchasing technology, equipment, patient simulators for the new Medical Technology and Simulation Center at SCF Lakewood Ranch.
  • The recommendation to enter into a contract with accounting firm Kerkering Barberio for internal audit services.

Peg Lowery, executive director of the State College of Florida Foundation Inc., reported that $4.3 million has been raised in 10 months despite the worst global recession in 80 years.

Recognized at the board of trustees meeting were:

  • Dr. Carol Probstfeld, SCF's vice president of business and administrative services, has received the Ken Jarrett Service Award for her contributions to the Florida College System. Probstfeld, who serves as an officer for the system's Council of Business Affairs, was the only recipient in the state to receive the award. She was selected for the award because she exceeded expectations in her leadership roles bringing about system changes and contributed to the resolution of legal, policy and regulatory issues.
  • Margaret "Peg" Beck, SCF's executive director of human resources, has been named chair-elect for 2010 of the human resources council of the Florida Community College Council of Business Affairs. As a valuable resource to the Florida College System, the council shares information applicable to the human resources profession and its function in higher education, including pertinent information for community colleges transitioning to the state college system. Beck has been a member of the council for 11 years.
  • Dr. Donald Bowman, vice president of educational student services, was recognized for his divisions' role in SCF's high ranking in the "2010 Guide to Military Friendly Schools."  Published by G.I. Jobs, the magazine ranked SCF among the top 15 percent of all colleges, universities and trade schools nationwide based on nonfinancial efforts to recruit and retain veteran students, financial commitment through tuition benefits and other program benefits and academic accreditations. The guide is scheduled to be released in September.

The next meeting of the SCF Board of Trustees is scheduled for 8:30 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 16, at SCF Bradenton.

Chairman Steve Harner, Dr. Carol Probstfeld, vice president of business administrative services, SCF President Dr. Lars A. Hafner

Chairman Steve Harner, Dr. Donald Bowman, vice president of educational and student services, SCF President Dr. Lars A. Hafner

Chairman Steve Harner, Peg Beck, executive director of human resources, SCF President Dr. Lars A. Hafner

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