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$70 billion budget deal in place

Legislative leaders struck a budget deal Monday marked by the creation of a new state polytechnic university in Lakeland, fulfilling the vision of a single lawmaker who wanted the school to grow independently from the University of South Florida.

The creation of Florida Polytechnic University, a priority of the departing Sen. JD Alexander, ensures that lawmakers will be able to pass a budget before the 2012 session is scheduled to end Friday.

Negotiations tipped when lawmakers agreed to cover most of the costs associated with splitting the Lakeland campus from USF.

"It's very, very, very good. I'm very pleased," USF President Judy Genshaft said. "I want to thank everyone in the community. It truly made a difference showing the strength of the University of South Florida."

Read the full story here.