Budget conference: FAU gets $10M bounce in Senate ‘sprinkle list’ funding
Florida Atlantic University notched some big wins in 2019.

The Senate dedicated 22% of the funding for its local projects to higher education.

Florida Atlantic University emerged as the Senate’s South Florida favorite when it comes to “sprinkle list” offerings for higher education institutions.

The $10 million for FAU’s operational costs is bound to put some bounce into the proceedings at the Boca Raton-based school that wowed the nation this year, ascending to the Final Four of the NCAA Division I college basketball tournament.

Overall, the Senate allocated some $80 million — about 22% — to the pursuit of higher education out of the $363 million awarded to some 165 projects on its sprinkle list. That’s about 3% more than the House assigned to the cause on its sprinkle list.

Overall, the Senate’s sprinkle list is notably less ambitious than last year, when the upper chamber’s list of sprinkle projects totaled $511.8 million.

Florida State University and the University of South Florida were the top winners across the state among the Senate’s sprinkling of funding for higher educational institutions.

The University of South Florida received $10 million for operational costs and another $16.25 million for construction of the Sarasota-Manatee Campus Academic STEM Nursing Facility. It went beyond the local funding initiative request for $11.2 million that Republican Sen. Jim Boyd filed.

Florida State is due to receive $15 million in operational costs, plus another $4 million for its Institute for Politics. The House also allocated $4 million for that same institute on its sprinkle list.

These allocations could face the Governor’s veto pen, however.

Like the House, the Senate awarded $500,000 to Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBAU) for the Center for Financial Literacy PBAU wants to build in downtown West Palm Beach. Republican Sen. Dennis Baxley fielded the request for the private Christian university.

Last year, the Legislature designated $5 million for PBAU’s Center for Financial Literacy, but Gov. Ron DeSantis cut the funding.

The sprinkle list is a set of supplemental funding items tacked onto the budget at the end of the negotiations. They are often member projects, but they can also be used to add money to a program that one chamber sought to fund at a higher level.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


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