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Monday, August 15, 2011

1500 homeless kids attend Manatee county schools, how many in Jacksonville?

I wonder how many in Jacksonville there are? -cpg


BRADENTON -- School Superintendent Tim McGonegal revealed a startling statistic to members of the Manatee CEO Roundtable Friday morning.

When school doors open Aug. 22, there will be more homeless students than ever in Manatee County, McGonegal told the group.

“The number of homeless students has increased to 1,500,” he told the group, which meets quarterly.

There were just more than 1,000 homeless students enrolled in Manatee County schools for the 2010-11 school year. And there are indications that the estimate of 1,500 may be too low, McGonegal explained to roundtable members, which included Sheriff Brad Steube, Manatee County Commission Chairwoman Carol Whitmore and Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston.

It is “probably closer to 2,500,” he said. The numbers will not be verified until the school year is well under way.

That’s why events such as the Kiwanis Club of Bradenton’s “Christmas in August Back to School Event” is so important, he said. The event is set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at McKechnie Field.

It started out as a way to pass out backpacks to needy students, McGonegal said. Now dental check ups, book bags, gift certificates and haircuts are offered before the first day of school.

Poston said he had received at least five calls Thursday regarding families or individuals who can’t pay utilities or have lost services. “These are people that were working folks,” Poston said. “But their jobs are going away.”

Whitmore asked for roundtable participants to spread the word about helping people in need during the country’s economic downturn. “If you know somebody that you can help -- just help them,” she said.

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