Scott vetoes Levy Center — again

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Third strike for college campus

By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

Central Florida College Levy Center Provost Marilyn Ladner says she is saddened and disappointed by Gov. Rick Scott's veto of $4.25 million to get the Chiefland campus started. 

On Monday, Scott's office announced the list of items he had struck from the state budget that starts July 1, and among the $378 million that he whacked from the $74.1 billion spending plan dubbed “Florida Families First” was money to begin work on the $14 million campus north of Chiefland.

The money had been added to the budget by the state Legislature's budget conference committee. 

It's Scott's second veto of money for construction of a classroom/multi-purpose building on the campus.

Scott, who has been trying to turn around his image portraying himself as an advocate for education and as a jobs creator, vetoed a $4.8 million appropriation in 2011.

Former Gov. Charlie Crist, who is rumored to be considering another run for the Governor's Mansion in 2014, vetoed a $14.8 million appropriation in 2010. 

“I am sad, heartbroken,” Ladner said in a phone interview on Monday afternoon. “This one denies our Levy County citizens opportunities.”

But she promised that college officials will redouble their efforts in next year's legislative session to have the money put in for work on phases one and two for the campus.

“We will get the money,” Ladner said. 

The college now holds classes in the shopping center located at 114 Rogers Blvd., in Chiefland, at the intersection of U.S. Highways 1, 27A and 129. It has been dubbed “The Sav A Lot Campus” by the students because the most prominent business is a Sav A Lot grocery store. 

Ladner said the reason Scott may have vetoed the project is “the understanding was not there that so many don't have access” to a college education. She said a college education would lead to a better quality of life for county residents. 

The college, in addition to emergency medical technician, paramedic, certified nurse's aide, and welding classes, also offers classes leading to an associate in arts, associate in science, computer information technology, dental assisting technology and management, business administration and other subjects. It also offers an Adult General Education Program that leads to students receiving their high school diplomas, and also provides dual enrollment courses for Chiefland High School students, some of whom graduate with their associate's degrees at the same time they pick up their high school diplomas.