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State considers adding Citrus County to Pasco-Hernando Early Learning Coalition

Some Florida lawmakers have not hidden their desire to scale back the statewide number of early learning coalitions that oversee child care and preschool programs, including Voluntary Prekindergarten.

The state Office of Early Learning has now issued recommendations to trim back the 30 ELCs, with one of the moves being to merge Citrus County's with the Pasco-Hernando coalition.

In an email to coalition board members and supporters, executive director Jim Farrelly called the possibility "likely controversial."

"Needless to say, this is FAR from a 'done deal.'  Many months of discussion lay ahead," he wrote.

Farrelly anticipated dramatic changes if the proposal goes through.

"We will assume responsibility for a third, large and distant County and approximately 1700 additional children," he wrote. "Our budget would increase by approximately $4.3M;  staff would grow substantially; board representation would expand to include membership from Citrus County."

In the meantime, Farrelly added, business will continue as usual for Pasco and Hernando county early learning programs.

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