Until his last year, Kevin McCarthy had a stellar 17-year career with Flagler schools, coming out of the shadow of his father Bob McCarthy, Flagler’s longest-serving sheriff. But he had unspoken struggles.
The Legislature had eliminated the money in 2015, causing a local outcry, forcing the school district to scale back the program and lay-off employees, and scrambling officials to lobby the legislature for a restoration of the money. It worked.
FTI Director Kevin McCarthy got suspicious when he saw the two boys walking on FPC’s and FTI’s campus. They fled when he and a deputy confronted them but were soon after arrested in the Target shopping center.
Intense lobbying by local school officials and their legislators helped restore the full $545,000 appropriation they’d lost last year, enabling the district to again double enrollment in the Adults with Disabilities’ Step Up program starting July 1.
The Belle Terre Swim and Racquet Club’s supporters have managed to increase memberships to more than 300 and close an $80,000 budget gap ahead of a Feb. 2 deadline when the school board will decide the club’s fate.
Though making progress, the Belle Terre Swim and Racquet Club now has 239 annual members, still short of the 400 it must have by the first week of February, when the school board will decide the club’s fate for good.
The program served 85 mostly full-time clients until it lost half a million dollars in state aid, forcing staff cuts and deep reductions in services. But unlike other districts, Flagler chose to keep its program going.
The $2.5 percent state-funded budget increase falls short of restoring the money lost last year. The board agreed to a $120,000 band aid for the adults with disabilities program run by FTI, which lost its state funding this month.
The Flagler school board lost $535,000 for two essential programs for adults with disabilities when the Legislature slashed $10 million from its budget for that program. On Tuesday, board members will look for a patch on the way to a solution to keep the program from closing.
The Flagler schoolo administration has made steady progress toward a lease agreement with the YMCA to take over the Belle Terre Swim and Racquet Club, but a negligence lawsuit hanging over the club since 2012 may be heading for trial at the end of May or in early June.