How reform might look for Jacksonville's children programs – Florida Politics (blog)
A little over two weeks ago, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and a number of City Council members called a presser to announce a stopgap resolution of a problem months in the making: insufficient funding for summer camps.
The Jacksonville Children’s Commission, which greenlighted the process, was trying to privilege quality over quantity. Yet, as camp sites closed and children were on the verge of being shut out, it was clear there were problems with the approach hammered out by the JCC over a course of months.
The money was found to close a lot of the gap: 24 more sites were funded (bringing the total to 72 citywide, down from 98 previously), $958,000 more being allocated, and 1,700 more kids being served than would have previously been possible.
But the more enduring takeaway, as revealed by Curry’s quotes, was a process that had gone sideways.
Curry was “frustrated” and “surprised to learn of significant cuts” to per-capita camp allocations.
While the $958,000 was a “band aid,” Curry said that he would introduce reforms to ensure that this doesn’t happen again, including ensuring alignment between the Jacksonville Children’s Commission and the Jax Journey — his administration’s key anti-crime initiative.
When asked if the two overlapping programs could be merged, Curry said “all options are on the table,” depending on the “best interest of kids.”
Last week, Mayor Curry spoke to these themes again, noting the disconnect between intention and realization in these programs, and how that disconnect undermines public safety itself.
“No, I’m not happy with where we are on public safety right now. That’s an across-the-board statement. I’m going to continue to provide the resources that I deem necessary, and work every day to tweak things to where we get the best results.”
And the Jacksonville Journey and the Jacksonville