Update on the Children’s Trust initiative for Orange County

April 1, 2018 0 Comments
I hope this finds everyone doing well. Here is the latest update on the Children’s Trust initiative for Orange County:
O­­ur Children, Our Choice : Great News! The website has been launched.
 Please review and share with your friends on your preferred social media. We especially want you to utilize this technology to email both the mayor and your own county commissioner, who are searchable by zip code within the site.
After your review of the website, please provide any suggestions to make it better. While the campaign progresses, there will be updates to the content and within the next few days our supporters will be able to contribute to the campaign online via secure credit card transaction.
County Commission Workshop : Is still scheduled for 10 a.m. on April 24 th. We would like to invite you to attend. If you wish to speak, please let us know. We will provide a form which needs to be filled out in order to present. We encourage your participation. The presentation/testimony is limited to 2 minutes per speaker.
At this meeting, we expect the county staff may present an exaggerated picture of what the county is currently funding regarding children’s programs in Orange county.
You should expect to hear numbers that are unrelated to what the countydirectly funds for our children. For instance, you may hear the total state and federal dollars that are appropriated for children’s services, unrelated to the county’s funding (Orange county might simply be a pass-through for such funds).
We also expect to hear figures mentioning what non-profit agencies provide in our community, again, unrelated to the county’s own contributions. Lastly, expect the county staff to include both philanthropy and corporate foundation boards contributions to children’s service programs in our community.
Simply put, this is an effort to substantially inflate the numbers to appear as if the county is providing more in funding than it truly is. For instance, in 2016, Orange county stated it was providing a total of $48,000,000 for services. At the upcoming hearing, we’re expecting to hear that the county is providing over $150,000,000 — a substantial increase in just two years. Again, just making the point that any numbers I would expect to be announced by the county are not at all reflective what they directly spend for children’s programs.
Briefings: We have again offered to meet with, brief and hear from both the Mayor and county commissioners about our campaign. Jacob Stuart and I have already scheduled a few meetings before the workshop on April 24th.
Donors Forum : I have been invited to speak about the Children’s Trust at the Donors Forum, which is attended by many philanthropic and corporate foundation funding sources who donate to programs in our community. This panel is scheduled for April 11th.
Political Happenings About Town :
Expect an announcement from Mayor Jacobs that she is running for chair of the Orange County School Board against Nancy Robbinson, a ten-year veteran of the school board who is already in the race. While our focus is strictly on the Mayor and county commission regarding getting our Children’s Services issue on the ballot, we are providing briefing materials to candidates for both county commission and school board. The issue is likely to be raised in their respective campaigns, so we want to be sure that they are informed on the Children’s Trust and our goals.
Also, expect an announcement that the county is proposing to spend $20,000,000 on children’s programs. If that is so, we will certainly applaud Mayor Jacobs & her colleagues on the commission. However, we will need to see the final proposal and have a few questions answered: Are these proposed dollars net, net new dollars? or existing dollars that will just be
relabeled? are they recurring dollars? If so, how are they protected from being reduced by future county commission actions?
There has been talk about creating a dependent tax, which means that the county could pass an ordinance identifying current millage for children.
Keep in mind that such action would not protect such funds from future cuts. In fact, in Jacksonville, where they have had a dependent council for ten years, they are actually spending less money on children’s programs than they were ten years ago. (again, making the point that the proposed (today’s) dollars are not necessarily protected from future cuts.) See attached article.
We need to keep in mind that the proposed Children’s Trust would provide over$58 million per year for ten years . This does not include the state and federal matching dollars that would be available. This model guarantees that it is allnew dollars and that, most importantly, they can’t be cut.
Polling : We learned that there is a new poll in the field– we don’t know who is funding it, but it does ask questions about the school board chair race between Teresa Jacobs and Nancy Robbinson, as well as at least one question about our proposed Children’s Services tax.
A Note of Thanks:  To those who have already contributed to our campaign in the form of financial support, volunteering of your expertise, or time– None of this would be possible without you. Thank you to all!
Should you have any questions, or would like to share suggestions, comments, etc. please feel free to contact us.
Children’s Trust of Orange County
c/o 200 E. Robinson Street, Suite 220
Orlando, Florida 32801
Thank you again for your continued support.

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