City Council blindsided by $2.2M project during budget discussion


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Some leaders call it a 2.2 million dollar project to help Savannah’s children, but not everyone is sold on the idea. News 3 is on your side with a closer look at Superintendent Dr. Ann Levett’s Renaissance Project.

Levett says the goal is to open premiere early learning centers in impoverished communities across Savannah.

It would provide food, education, and a safe haven for children living in distressed communities. One of those early learning centers already exists at Port Wentworth Elementary. In 2015, the campus was revitalized — adding a media center and book carousels.

Levett knows getting approval for funding for other centers will be difficult, but she has no plans of giving up.

“We create a better future for those children, we create a better future for our city. My children cannot afford to wait, so if we can’t create this partnership here, I’ll come back again,” says Dr. Ann Levett, Superintendent of Savannah Chatham County Public Schools.

Dr. Levett also plans to go to county leaders and ask for funding for the project.

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — From fire fees to a project helping impoverished children, city leaders had a lot to debate in Thursday’s budget work session.

City council was blindsided by a request from the leader of the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System.

Dr. Ann Levett requested leaders to devote $2.2 million to the Savannah Renaissance Project.

“It’s just surprising that we’re discussing it at this point during the budget process,” says Alderman Tony Thomas.

This project would establish four centers in Savannah to accommodate children in early childhood education. Students would have food to eat and a place to go after school.

“For me, it’s about ensuring that young people have an opportunity to be successful despite the circumstances in which they now live,” Dr. Levett explained.

But with the possibility of major cuts on the horizon and the implementation of a fire fee, the council was surprised to see the project included in the proposal.

While most members think the project is a good idea, funding it is an issue of its own.

Mayor DeLoach, who is in support of the Renaissance Project, wants to put some of that $2.2 million in a contingency fund until the school system has a solid plan in place.

City leaders still have a lot to consider in the 2018 budget proposal, and they don’t have much time before the Dec. 21 vote.

Budget discussions will continue next week.

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