The North Florida legislative wish-list is heavy on environmental and educational proposals. Comments at Wednesday’s meeting included everything from increased funding for mental health services, to a push to fund scholarships for minority teachers.
Representatives Halsey Beshears, Alan Williams, Michelle Rehwinkle-Vasilinda and State Senator Bill Montford represent a large swath of the Central Panhandle, and Wednesday they heard public comment local officials and residents. The protection of the state’s wild lands, springs and how to divvy up funding from a newly-passed environmental protection amendment dominated the conversation but so did appeals for local projects like the Gear Up program which helps low-income students get ready for college.
“We’re at a critical point right now where our project Gear Up was not re-funded by the federal government, and we’re seeking an appropriation from the state legislature to continue those services in some respect," Louis Gilbert runs the program in North Florida.
Public comments also included a push to reduce standardized tests, provide extra funding to programs that support at-risk and low-income students.