PCMI Contract Renewal could mean big changes for the Institute

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Big changes could be in the future for students at the Panama City Marine Institute. 

PCMI’s contract with the Department of Juvenile Justice is up for renewal. The new contract contains details that would mean removing the educational program at the institute. 

For 24 years, PCMI has had a contract with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice to educate at-risk teenagers. The contract gets renewed and re-bid every 5 years and each time there are new additions and modifications. However, the latest will mean some major changes.

“This next evolution is going to not include us doing education which was required before and now it won’t be,” said PCMI Executive Director, Ronald Boyce. 

With the education requirement gone, along with it’s additional funding, PCMI is not planning to renew it’s contract with Bay District schools. That means saying goodbye to core curriculum like math, science and English classes, and the students enrolled in those classes. However, PCMI is not entirely cutting ties.

“We’re looking at all our options to figure out a way to work that out to make the programs as accessible to everybody as possible,” said Boyce. 

GED, vocational and after school programs will still be available but the focus of this new contract is community outreach. Outreach plans to reach DJJ kids not just in Panama City, but all over Bay County. 

“That contract and what we do and exactly what it looks like has changed but our mission has never changed and it’s always been to help at risk kids in Bay County Florida,” said Boyce. 

The contract with Bay District ends June 30th, so students looking to enroll in traditional school courses will have to enroll in the school they’re zoned for.

The new contract with the Florida Department of Justice will begin in January with bidding starting this summer.  PCMI officials will know if they won the contract by the fall. 

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