City Council approves Apopka education program expansion with 3-2 vote

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With a 3-2 vote, the City Council approved the expansion of Mayor Joe Kilsheimer’s Apopka education program Apopka Begins and Ends With A at their Wednesday, January 4, meeting, their first one of 2017.

The program, designed to help local schools improve their state-based grades, 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 program expansion was one of nine items under the meeting’s consent agenda. Usually the City Council can vote on all consent agenda items at one time, but the program expansion was pulled for an extensive discussion and therefore received a separate vote.

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

When the program was launched in the 2015-2016 school year, the city of Apopka partnered with the City of Life Foundation to establish, facilitate and coordinate the activities of Community Action Teams (CATs) at Rock Springs and Lovell Elementary schools.

For the 2016-2017 school year, 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 City Council agenda packet.

City Council approval is required to extend the city’s agreement with the City of Life Foundation as well as authorize expenditures for the program within the fiscal year.

Details of the City Council’s vote in the Friday, January 6, edition.