Let's take a stand with AMIkids
As mentioned in a recent article, I wrote to the secretary of the Department of Juvenile Justice, and have since received a response, regarding the decision-making process that led to AMIkids losing the contract to run the alternative school known for many years as the Pasco Marine Institute. The secretary's response gives me little comfort that the decision to pull funds from AMIkids was made with the best interests of the students in mind. Rather, generic data was used to justify, at least in part, the decision to not continue with AMIkids.
The secretary's response stated that only 62 percent of youth completed their day treatment placement. This figure represents a statewide average of all Florida programs, not just those run by AMI. Rather, 70 percent of Pasco students completed the program, well above the statewide average. Additionally, it was stated that 43 percent of youth in day treatment were adjudicated for a new offense during supervision. Again, this figure represents a statewide average of all providers. Only 31 percent of the Pasco students were adjudicated. Finally, the secretary stated that 32 percent of former students were adjudicated for a new offense within one year of their release. As before, this is a statewide average. The Pasco program's numbers were at 26 percent, again a much lower recidivism rate than the state as a whole.
It is disingenuous to use statewide figures to at least partially justify why the contract with AMIkids was not renewed. AMIkids, as the Pasco Marine Institute, literally has decades worth of local experience providing services to troubled kids. For the department to suddenly expect AMIkids to change its service model to provide a program that is not feasible within its successful structure is wrong. AMIkids should have been treated with far more respect. It has earned that right.
It is now more important than ever that our community stand beside AMIkids to ensure that the students are given an opportunity for success. Community leaders are working together to secure the funding necessary to keep the doors open and your support can directly impact the futures of these youth.
Sen. Mike Fasano, New Port Richey
Ticket drivers riding in turn lane | May 31 letter
Traffic-flow idea makes little sense
Now, a letter writer wants drivers who just want to get off U.S. 19, via the new continuous turn lanes, to get tickets. People like that make me sick.
Traffic is normally backed up to Darlington Road from State Road 54. As soon as I pass Moog Road, I get in the right turn lane. Would the writer prefer I sit and wait three more light changes to get up to the Hyundai dealership to get, according to her, in the turn lane properly? It's not bad enough going 30 years without a ticket — and I supposedly went through a red light at Gulf Drive and U.S. 19 that cost almost $200 — now people want more tickets issues.
This county has done zero to improve traffic flow. What happened to the proposed U.S. 19 overpasses? No, let's just keep building more Walmart stores to keep the traffic pouring onto U.S. 19.
Deborah Estepp, New Port Richey