State law allows the county, by majority vote of the county commission, to create an independent board to identify gaps and provide additional dedicated funding for children's services. This funding stream is created by implementing up to a half-mill property tax increase for ten years.
The first step in this process requires The Children’s Trust to persuade the county commission to place language on the ballot and allow the community to vote on this issue. The ballot language would create the model described above and increase local property taxes for the purposes of funding the substantial unmet needs of children in Orange County.
Right now, the Children’s Trust is asking the mayor and commissioners to give voters the chance to approve or disapprove of the Children’s Trust and property tax increase. If the question is placed on the ballot, the Campaign will educate voters regarding the needs in Orange County.
One in four children live below the poverty line and an estimated 7,000 students are homeless.
The Early Learning Coalition indicates there are over 2,700 children who do not have access to early childcare education.
Currently there are at least 40 elementary schools without an after-school program.
Despite having the fourth largest child population in Florida, funding for mental health services for children in Orange County is the second lowest in the state.
Orange County is the only large urban county in the state without a Children’s Trust model. The Children’s Trust will increase and protect funds for children's programs from future county leaders who may shift them to other priorities.
Establishing the Children’s Trust is the only way to ensure this additional funding is spent on proven programs and priorities for Orange County’s children including mental health counseling, after school programs, child abuse prevention, and healthcare.
Featured photo credit: Orlando Sentinel