Moore-Mickens Education Center in Pasco County will stay open despite budget problems

Citizens take action to convince officials

DADE CITY, Fla. - The Moore-Mickens Education Center is a school with historical significance for the African-American community in Dade City.  Supporters scored a victory Tuesday, who fought to keep the school from closing down.

Supporters say the smaller class sizes and vocational programs help provide a positive learning environment  for students who have had trouble functioning elsewhere.

Warren "Snapper" Godbolt is a retired construction worker and a Moore-Mickens graduate.  He said, "In this setting out here, these kids they've got a place, they are happy, they are content, they are in a comfort zone. And that's what's needed in order for them to learn."

After hearing from so many at a public meeting Monday night that brought signs and spoke of the school's importance, Pasco County Schools superintendent Kurt Browning says he made the decision Tuesday morning to keep Moore-Mickens open.

"Everybody believes that the decision had been made, going into that meeting, that we were just going through the motions. But I will tell you, I was vacillating going into the meeting and I can say that now," said Browning.

If Moore-Mickens had been closed, its programs would have moved to nearby Pasco High School, saving the district about $1 million a year.

The district is dealing with a $23-million budget shortfall.

Browning says the cuts will just have to come from somewhere else.  "We were really hopefully of cobbling together some money for raises for our employees this year.  I'll be brutally honest.  That won't happen."

Moore-Mickens will see its pre-K program relocated.  But otherwise, the school is safe, thanks to those who took action to keep it.

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