On May 22nd the Leon County Commission will receive a report put together by staff that provides an overview of existing research relative to issues impacting children in Leon County.
The Board requested the report at their March 27, 2018 meeting as a way to evaluate the need for the creation of a Children’s Services Council as provided in Florida statutes. The 22 page agenda item addresses research in four areas that include economic well-being, education, health, and family & community.
This is the second of four reports by Tallahassee Reports that will summarize the information provide in each of the categories in an effort to make it easier for interested citizens to digest the information. The first and only public hearing for the proposed ordinance that will adopt language to be placed on the ballot in November is on June 19, 2018
The table of education indicators that will be presented at the Leon County Commission meeting is shown below. The table compares various Leon County indicators of education statistics with the same statistics at the state-level.
The information comes from various agencies and reports.
Reviewing the 12 indicators of educational achievement, Leon County outperformed or was generally equivalent to the state-level indicators in all categories.
For example, the percent of eligible children enrolled in school readiness programs was reported to be 40% compared to 22% at the state-level. Also, Leon County drop-out rates were .4% while the state-wide rate was 4%.
It was also reported that Leon County was home to 5 of the 300 lowest performing elementary schools in the state. Those schools were; (1) Oak Ridge Elementary School; (2) John G Riley Elementary School; (3) Pineview Elementary School; (4) Bond Elementary School; and (5) Imagine School At Evening Rose. All five are Title I schools and one school, Imagine School at Evening Rose, is a charter school. Imagine School closed in 2017 after the Leon County School Board voted unanimously to eliminate its charter agreement.
The Early Learning Coalition of the Big Bend Region reports that there are 123 school readiness providers operate in Leon County that received $6,462,262 in direct service payments. In addition, there are 109 VPK providers that operate in Leon County which received $3,295,926 in direct service payments.
The table below also includes a list of policies and programs that might be implemented to address the identified needs. These recommendations originated from a Whole Child Leon report and include the following:
• Increase funding children eligible for subsidized care
• Fund early learning collation to support quality ranking for child care centers
• Workforce training for early childhood professionals