Budget conference: Moffitt Cancer Center Partnership School faces $7M funding gap
Will Moffitt feel the pinch?

The money would be used to build a 'high tech/innovative public education training facility.'

A $7 million state appropriation for the Moffitt Cancer Center Campus in Pasco County is in limbo, with the latest House PreK-12 budget offer excluding the item despite support from the Senate in its original budget.

Funding requests (SF 1185, HB 2591) filed by Sen. Ed Hooper and Rep. Ardian Zika seek $7,115,181 from the state for the purpose of “building a high tech/innovative public education training facility” on the Moffitt Cancer Center Campus in Pasco County. According to the requests, the state funding would account for the entirety of the project so far.

“This investment will seed the start-up costs associated with establishing a state-of-the-art training center that will anchor a partnership between the District School Board of Pasco County, PHSC, and the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute,” the requests state. The project received $14 million from the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund and is anticipating additional funding via ESSER II.

The requests add that the center would bring secondary and post-secondary students into direct interaction with researchers, physicians, nurses and other medical professionals who are on the front lines of the latest innovations in the treatment of cancer and other diseases.

Specifically, it would establish a training center for students in sixth through 12th grade at a choice STEM school in proximity to the Moffitt Cancer Center and will house programs in biomedical engineering, health sciences, nursing, technology, and medical manufacturing. The program would accept students from Pasco County and the Tampa Bay region, according to the report.

Partners for the project include Pasco County Schools, Moffitt Cancer Center and Pasco Hernando State College.

“The partnership launches with cooperative agreements between Moffitt and Pasco-Hernando State College during the 2021-2022 fiscal year. As the Moffitt campus opens, students will have internships, apprenticeships, and on site training delivered in the training center or in the field. The addition of PSHC expands the number of postsecondary educational and training opportunities available,” the requests read.

Of the money requested from the state, $115,181 would be directed toward the salary and benefits of an executive director to implement the partnerships for the first year of the program. Then, in successive years, the director salary will be incorporated into existing budgets, the request states. The $7 million chunk of funding would be devoted to construction of the facility.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


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