Childrens Services Council
The November 2020 ballot initiative to support an increase in property taxes dedicated to the Childrens Services Council as authorized under Florida Statutes has generated quite a bit of discussion. Many Leon County residents, groups and officials support the measure with data highlighting children entering school unprepared to learn, juvenile crime, family poverty and hunger, and other physical, social and mental needs of area youth. Opponents are concerned with an increase in taxes at a time of economic recession, another layer of administration and wish to consider alternative ways to address the issues by redirecting existing resources.
The 21st Century Council supports the initiative as proposed by the CSC Planning Committee with several concerns. One is that the appointed council must represent the diversity of the community. The second is that a significant needs assessment must be done to establish priorities based upon identified gaps in desired results, not just on community perceptions, This data must then be used for monitoring and reporting impacts on the priority needs. Fourth, the Council must identify and support research and evidence base practices and services that address the priorities identified. While being open to novel approaches, the Council must also insist on collaborative and substantial efforts that have a high probability of producing results. And, lastly, the Council must be open and transparent about its operation, funding and decision-making.
The 21st Century Council is committed to monitoring closely the CSC if it is established to ensure the above concerns are being addressed and to report its observations to the community.