Sarasota County Commissioners restore some non-profit funding

Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 11:07 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - At a Sarasota County Commission meeting on Sept. 26, commissioners moved to restore some non-profit funding they previously removed earlier in the month. Six Sarasota non-profits were fast tracked including The Boys and Girls Club of Sarasota, while others required discussion and a vote by commissioners. That included the Early Learning Coalition.

Director of Outreach for the ELC, Ana McClendon. said getting the funds restored was a relief.

“We are very thankful for them. For listening to us, for listening to our community, for listening to our providers and partners, and that cry out for how critical access to childcare is,” said McClendon.

The discussion did bring up opposition to restoring the ELC’s funds. Commissioner Mike Moran mentioned a conversation he had with his father about how the funding wasn’t necessary.

“I said how do you feel about using taxpayer dollars to help prepare young children to start kindergarten ready to learn and he goes is this a trick question? He goes you don’t start learning until kindergarten,” said Moran.

Other commissioners saw the value in the ELC. McClendon explained they help low income and working-class families get the education their children need. She explained the first five years of development are extremely important.

“To absorb all the sights, sounds and experiences around you and frankly then those that you don’t experience have an incredible impact on your life trajectory. Right, you either make it or break it with how enriching your first five years is or how much it’s not,” said McClendon.

For The Renaissance Preschool, who works with the ELC, they teach their kids to speak up and fight for what is right, according to director Sara Snow. She said that is what she did to help get the funding restored.

“We got to practice what we preach. Words are power. I’m just so glad somebody was listening,” said Snow.

90% of the school’s students are ELC students that would have been impacted by the defunding.