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Jacksonville Mayor Announces After-School Program Expansion

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WJCT News
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Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry is working with City Council President Anna Brosche to expand the city’s after-school program, he announced Monday.

Under the plan, nine more sites will offer after-school services to 740 more children.

“Council President Brosche and I remain committed to creating a city where children from their earliest age through young adulthood have the tools and resources to thrive,” Curry wrote in an email statement.

A mayor’s spokeswoman said the expansion will be funded by reorganizing the Jacksonville Children’s Commission budget to free up $1.07 million.

The Jacksonville Children’s Commission, together with the Jax Journey crime-fighting initiative, administers the city’s after-school and summer camp programs. Recently it was announced that the two would spend more money on each child, but they’d have to scale back how many they serve as a result. That caught the mayor and city council by surprise.

Curry’s announcement Monday follows a similar announcement in June: that nearly $1 million had been scraped together last minute to expand summer camps. He calls the new after-school funding a “Band-Aid,” but legislation further reorganizing the commission and Jax Journey is expected.

“It is another stopgap measure to help meet the urgent needs of children this school year, which is why the reforms that I will be introducing are essential to our children,” he wrote.

His office did not confirm exactly where the school funds are coming from before this story’s deadline.   

The Children’s Commission is set to meet Wednesday morning to discuss its finances.

Ryan Benk can be reached at rbenk@wjct.org, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter at @RyanMichaelBenk.