Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Wayward Youth Home Surprise

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Wayward Youth Home Surprise

Article excerpt

TALLAHASSEE -- A surprise $12 million appropriation for a

residential home for wayward youths is on the list of Duval

County projects in the House or Senate budget proposals.

There is also money proposed to repay the county for its

participation in the defunct Cross-Florida Barge Canal, money for

troubled Edward Waters College and money for an array of

projects from roads to college buildings.

"We come out, so far, pretty good for Jacksonville," Rep. Steve

Wise, R-Jacksonville, said.

Differences in the two budgets will have to be resolved in a

conference committee before the session ends, but projects that

are in both budgets stand a good chance to survive.

Gov. Lawton Chiles also has the power to veto items that he

does not like.

The sudden appearance in the House budget of the $12 million

for the residential home, called an at-risk academy, caught many

local officials by surprise.

Wise, who is known for his ability to get items into the

budget, said he envisioned the academy as similar to the Baptist

Home for Children on Bartram Road and suggested it might even be

located on property near that facility.

Bill Jackson, finance director for the Duval County school

system, and State Attorney Harry Shorstein said they had no

knowledge of the project, although the concept sounded good.

Ginny Myrick, Jacksonville's legislative affairs director, said

the project was not on Mayor John Delaney's request list, but he

supported the idea.

"That's news to me," was Sen. Jim Horne's reaction when told

about the project in the House budget. Horne, an Orange Park

Republican whose district includes part of Duval County, heads

the Senate Education Budget Subcommittee.

The Senate budget does not contain money for the project and a

final decision will have to be made in a joint conference

committee, but Wise said he was optimistic.

Chiles has not committed to support the project, but views the

concept favorably, an aide said. …

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