Apopka Begins and Ends with A to have 2016-2017 launch event

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Mayor Joe Kilsheimer’s educational initiative Apopka Begins and Ends with A will have its 2016-2017 school year kickoff event on Tuesday, January 10, at Highland Manor, 604 E. Main St., Apopka, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The event is open to the public.

Designed to help local schools improve their state-based grades, Apopka Begins and Ends with A has been controversial with some members of the City Council and the public, who said the city should not spend city taxpayer money for schools when Apopka has other needs that go unfunded.

The city partnered with the City of Life Foundation to establish, facilitate and coordinate the activities of Community Action Teams (CATs) to identify each school’s unique problems and to come up with solutions. Kilsheimer is a former board member of the City of Life Foundation.

Apopka Begins and Ends with A launched during the 2015-2016 school year, with CATs set up at Rock Springs and Lovell Elementary schools.

According to an agenda from Allan Chernoff, City of Life Foundation chief operating officer, the Tuesday event begins at 5:30 p.m. with guests arriving and networking. Refreshments and food will be available.

Kilsheimer is scheduled at 6 p.m. to welcome attendees, followed by various program participants giving a description and the process of Apopka Begins and Ends with A including goals, the CATs process, and results already achieved.

There will be a Q&A session followed by adjournment at 7:30 p.m.

Expanding Apopka Begins and Ends with A
At their Wednesday, January 4, meeting, the Apopka City Council voted 3-2 to expand the program that includes the extension of Apopka’s agreement with the City of Life Foundation as well as the authorization of the program’s expenditures within the fiscal year.

Previously, the City Council approved the program’s 2016-2017 fiscal year funding for up to $35,000, which was augmented by a $9,500 contribution by the Duke Energy Foundation.

For 2016-2017, a planned expansion will add facilitated CATs to Apopka, Lakeville, Phillis Wheatley and Zellwood Elementary schools as well as continue the CATs at Rock Springs and Lovell, according to information in the January 4 City Council agenda packet.

An extended story on this event will appear in the Friday, January 13, issue of The Apopka Chief