Advocacy Alert

UPDATE: thank you for your help – this issue has been fully resolved as of 4:30 p.m. 10/20/20!

Last month we shared with our Facebook friends photos of 11-year-old Gavin using a crockpot to make lasagna and a toaster oven to make garlic bread — appliances we provided, groceries we purchased, and instruction we delivered.

We showed 8-year-old Ellie trying (and hating) carrot bacon for her afterschool snack, again using her toaster oven, delivered groceries, and virtual instruction.

About 40% of our children’s program funding comes from a contract through the Dept. of Education. These funds, albeit reduced significantly due to COVID, were approved in the Governor’s budget. This contract was scheduled to start Sept. 1, but here we are 7 weeks later, and we don’t have that contract.

We delivered these services, in good faith, without a payment guarantee because children are more important than money, because children with disabilities shouldn’t be punished because of government delays, but we can’t continue like this — because these services, especially virtual services, cost money to deliver.

Some of our sister agencies throughout the state have had to stop services for children completely because of this. This is unacceptable.

We hope that it is an administrative hiccup and not a show of apathy for Florida’s blind children.

We call on Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran to release the contract and allow agencies like ours to count the services delivered since the anticipated contract start date of Sept. 1.

Help us communicate that these children matter. They are not just a stack of papers on someone’s desk, overlooked for a couple of months. These children matter.

Below we have contact info for Commissioner Corcoran and our Lake/Sumter delegation, as well as a sample email to send (but feel free to personalize!).

Help us ensure Florida’s blind children are not forgotten.


Take Action Now

Contact FL Dept. of Education Commissioner Richared Corcoran and our Lake/Sumter delegation to make your voice heard:

Florida Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran, Commissioner@fldoe.org

Click each representative below to contact:

What to Say

Here’s a sample email you can send:

Dear Commissioner (or Representative or Senator),

I am writing to seek your assistance in correcting an issue affecting Florida’s blind children and the agencies serving them. As a friend of New Vision for Independence, which serves visually impaired people of all ages in Lake, Sumter, and The Villages, I am concerned that their FLDOE Children’s Program contract that was supposed to start Sept. 1 has not yet been executed, and that those vital services delivered so far won’t count for that contract.

Services were provided in our area to kids like 11-year-old Gavin who learned to use a crockpot to make lasagna and a toaster oven to make garlic bread — appliances provided, groceries purchased, and instruction delivered by New Vision for Independence.

Ellie, age 8, made and tried carrot bacon for her afterschool snack, again using her toaster oven, delivered groceries, and virtual instruction.

Services for these kids are partially funded through a contract with the Dept. of Education. These funds, albeit reduced significantly due to COVID, were approved in the Governor’s budget. This contract was scheduled to start Sept. 1, but now, 7 weeks later, agencies still don’t have that contract.

These services were delivered, in good faith, without a payment guarantee because children are more important than money, because children with disabilities shouldn’t be punished because of government delays, but it can’t continue like this — because these services, especially virtual services, cost money to deliver, and the Governor committed funds to assist.

I hope that it is an administrative hiccup and not a show of apathy for Florida’s blind children.

I, alongside my friends at New Vision, call on Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran to release the contract and allow agencies to count the services delivered since the anticipated contract start date of Sept. 1.

These children matter. They are not just a stack of papers, overlooked on someone’s desk. These children matter.

Sincerely,

[Your name]