Sarasota County Commission backtracks on decision to cut funding for childcare, low income services

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Sarasota County Commissioner Mike Moran // Sarasota County Commissioners scgov.net

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In a controversial move last month, the Sarasota County Commission cut funding for various social service programs, including childcare and homeless services. But now, the commission has reversed the cuts.

The commission had voted to cut funding for various programs, including the Boys and Girls Club and the Early Learning Coalition.

The funding cuts were based on a scoring system presented by Commissioner Mike Moran.

But last week, they reversed the decision. Ron Cutsinger is the chair of the Sarasota County Commission.

“This was not an accurate representation of how these groups scored – these were high-scoring groups. But because of the fact that one individual scored them in safety and one scored them in shelter, it totally made the results inaccurate.”

Commissioner Mike Moran acknowledged inconsistencies in the scoring process.

“There’s been a lot of misinterpretation of this, frankly I think some of it’s purposeful, but I’ll get over it.”

Republican state representative Fiona McFarland spoke out against the cuts, specifically for the Early Learning Coalition.

“Whether you’re doing it for the kids to get them ready for kindergarten, or you’re doing it for the parents to get them in the workforce, or you’re just doing it because it makes good financial sense, cause we’re going to match it at the state level, I urge you to do so.”

However, by Moran’s scoring system, it would’ve lost funding.

“I thought it was an ineligible expense for the Sarasota County taxpayer to pay for daycare. It did not fit food, shelter, safety, mental health, substance abuse, or jail diversion. It was ineligible.”

The county commission voted to restore over a million dollars in funding for various programs, including the Early Learning Coalition.

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