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Dorothy Hukill files ‘college competitiveness’ bill

Sen. Dorothy Hukill has filed a bill to “support the over 800,000 full- and part-time students of Florida’s nationally-recognized college system,” she said in a Wednesday press release.

Her legislation (SB 540), known as the “Community College Competitiveness Act of 2018,” would “expand credit transfer options … , requir(e) student and faculty representation on the new state coordinating board of the community college system, and expand strategic academic advising to help students save time and money.”

“As a former teacher, I have seen firsthand how each component of our education system provides a valuable experience for our students as they learn the skills needed for a successful career,” the Port Orange Republican said in a statement. “For this reason, in developing this legislation, we worked to incorporate feedback from our state colleges regarding their unique strategies for student success.”

Her legislation “seeks to further elevate Florida’s nationally-ranked community colleges through a renewed focus on student success that will lead to on-time completion of vital associate degrees and workforce credentials that prepare students for jobs in communities across our state,” she added.

Here are excerpts from the rest of the release:

“Florida’s 2+2 college-to-university program has earned a national reputation as a model for success in higher education. With a distinct mission, separate from the role of our K-12 and state university systems, Florida’s community colleges are vital to Florida’s K-20 public education system,” said Senate President Joe Negron, a Stuart Republican.

“An independent coordinating board will ensure this critical component of our state’s education and economic development infrastructure retains its dedicated local focus while elevating the statewide leadership presence needed to continue to meet the needs of growing local and regional economies throughout Florida,” he added.

The bill elevates the organizational prominence and affirms the distinct leadership significance of the Florida Community College System and the essential role local community colleges play in improving the quality of life and economic well-being of the state and its residents.

It restructures state-level governance of Florida’s community college system under a state coordinating board uniquely dedicated to the advocacy and advancement of the economic, community, and professional advancement goals of Florida’s 28 community colleges.

It also restores a “State Board of Community Colleges” (SBCC) to oversee and coordinate the FCCS (local college boards of trustees retain current local autonomy and local governing authority), and shifts state-level responsibilities regarding Florida community colleges from the State Board of Education to the SBCC.

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