The Leon County Children's Services Planning Committee has narrowed its priorities to three broad topics: student success, healthy children and families, and Family and Community Stability. The move is part of an ongoing debate over whether the county should create a new tax to fund children’s services locally.
Florida cities and counties have the ability to impose taxes for children’s programs but those must be approved by local voters. The county is planning a vote on the issue in 2020. In the run-up to that decision, the Children's Services Planning Committee is deciding what efforts, if any, the tax should fund.
It’s narrowed the list to six issues: early childhood education, summer and afterschool programming, physical and mental health support, youth job skill development and crafting a system that can provide access to food year round for families in poverty.
Consultant Aliza Ghazvini says any priorities identified now may change later as the committee continues working on its final report. That’s due to the county in January.
Should Leon County voters approve a children’s services council and tax, the funds cannot go to something that’s already being funded.