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Children's Services Council 'a gamechanger for the children in our community'

Posted at 6:19 PM, Nov 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-04 18:19:43-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — On Tuesday, Leon County voters approved the tax-payer funded Children's Services Council, the tenth in the state.

"It's going to be a gamechanger for the children in our community," said Rocky Hanna, the superintendent of Leon County Schools.

Hanna will be one of ten people on the new Children Services Council and a school board member, someone from the department of children and families, a county commissioner voted on by the council and a judge who handles juvenile cases.

Parents like Talethia Edwards say it could do good for many people, including her own kids.

"We don't have enough infrastructure for youth behavioral services," said Edwards. "Sometimes looking for services such as those that are not readily available, if that was one of the things our children services council focused on, that would benefit as well."

Hanna says he wants to focus on helping early childhood learning. At LCS, about 50 percent of students aren't prepared for kindergarten.

"To me, it makes the most sense," Hanna said. "How we can develop a strategy moving forward that would develop throughout our community to prepare children for life."

The measure didn't pass lightly, though.

Those against it targeted the property tax, proposed at $48 per $100,000 of property.

Edwards asks people to think about how much richer the community will be in the long run.

"This is an investment, an investment in an entire community to serve our kids," said Edwards. "I think it's worth it. It's a very small amount."

Changes to property taxes won't occur until Governor Ron DeSantis approves all recommendations. In the past, he has taken almost a year to respond to other counties' councils.