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Escambia County Commission and School Board discuss future of children

Pensacola, Fla. (WEAR) - For the first time in at least seven years members of the Escambia County Commission and Escambia County School Board came together to talk about how to better improve the lives of children.

Both governing bodies want to make sure kids in the county have every possible resource at their disposal.

One of the goals they had during Tuesday's meeting was to get every student a library card.

The group discussed many issues that would also impact the future of kids.

They want to see career academies at every high school in the district.

At the moment, more than 50 percent of students in middle and high schools are enrolled in a career academy.

However, it was District 1 Commissioner Jeff Bergosh's concept of a downtown boarding school that sparked the biggest debate.

Bergosh wants to see students in the most dangerous living situations voluntarily placed in a possible new boarding school.

"There's so many kids that live just in utter dysfunction and they're really in danger of falling between the cracks and these kids if they're not put on the track to success in life they're going end up in jail or they're going to end up dead," Bergosh said.

He said funding would come from both private and public sectors, but community ownership would help it succeed.

Escambia County Commission Chairman Doug Underhill said he would never support something like this because breaking a parental bond, even if it's a bad one, can cause lifelong damage.

Some members of the school board said it's an economic issue.

Bergosh said he will continue to fight for this because it would take kids in bad environments and give them a chance at having a good life.

He said other cities like Miami and Washington D.C. have started these urban boarding schools and they're working.

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