The newly formed Children’s Trust of Orange County is off to a strong start after recently launching their website and social media campaign. The committee, chaired by longtime child advocate, Dick Batchelor and co-chaired by former President of the Central Florida Partnership, Jacob Stuart, announced today they have collected more than 500 signatures on a change.org petition asking Mayor Teresa Jacobs and the Orange County Commission to allow Orange County voters to decide on a ½ mill property tax increase to fund the growing needs of our community’s children and the shortfall of resources available to serve them.
“I am thrilled with the response we are getting,” said Batchelor. “We are hearing from people who recognize the future of our county, our quality of life and our economy, depend greatly on our children growing up in a safe and supportive environment, making good choices for themselves and contributing in positive ways to our community,” he added. “The response we are getting mirrors a recent poll where 82% of voters in Orange County said they want to vote on this important issue and that’s exactly what we are asking Mayor Jacobs and the Commissioners to give us the opportunity to do.”
The Children’s Trust of Orange County is advocating for a model that seven other urban counties in Florida have adopted. State law allows the county to create an independent special district to identify gaps and provide additional dedicated funding for children’s services through up to a half-mill property tax increase for ten years (raising an estimated $58 million a year in Orange County).
Rick Goings, Chairman & CEO of Tupperware Brands Corporation, added, “We support this effort because not only does it make good business sense, but it is the right thing to do. There is no reason every child in Orange County cannot have access to high quality, affordable early childhood development and mental health counseling,” he continued.
“The Children’s Trust is not an effort to discredit the millions of dollars Orange County currently spends on our children,” said Dr. Joel Hunter, former Senior Pastor at Northland Church and current Chairman of the Community Resource Network. “We know the needs are growing rapidly in our community and The Children’s Trust is the only way to ensure this additional funding is spent on proven programs and priorities for Orange County’s children including mental health counseling, after school programs, child abuse prevention, and healthcare,” he added. “The people should decide on an issue as important to our children as this one is.”
The Orange County Commission will hold a workshop to discuss the issue on April 24, 2018.
For more information on The Children’s Trust or to sign the petition, please visit http://ourchildrenourchoice.com/.