Manatee school district releases 17-page budget summary before Thursday meeting

eearl@bradenton.comJuly 25, 2013 

The Manatee County School Board: Linda Carpenter, left, Bob Gause, Julie Aranibar, Dave "Watchdog" Miner and Barbara Harvey. Manatee County School District photo.

MANATEE-- After school board members Robert Gause and Dave "Watchdog" Miner expressed disappointment over only receiving a one-page budget summary in preparation for the special budget meeting, the school district released a 17-page version of the proposed budget for the 2013-2014 school year.

The school board received the document at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday night, Miner said.

A copy of the proposed budget is not yet available online.

"It has not been done as quickly as we hoped," Miner said. "We are short on manpower, and we have a way to go for being up to date."

Cuts include a reduction of $514,929, or 12.43 percent, in the media service and school library budget. There is also a decrease of $650,821, or a 5.3 percent, in the student transportation budget.

The proposed budget also calls for a $12.7 million, or a 6.21 percent increase, in the instructional services budget. The total instructional service budget is $218 million.

Pat Barber, the president of the Manatee Education Association, said that while the governor recommended a $2,500 raise for each teacher, she is almost certain that there will not be enough to give that amount to every teacher.

Barber said the union will meet to negotiate with the school district to discuss how much the raises will be, but she said a date for that negotiation has not yet been set.

"It is a defined pot that has to be spread fairly," Barber said. "We are anxious to get some money in the hands of teachers and employees as soon as possible,"

Miner said that while he now thinks that he has enough information to have an informed discussion this evening, he doesn't think the board will make a decision on the millage rate or the proposed budget yet.

School board chair woman Karen Carpenter agreed.

"I think we need to see everybody's concern," Carpenter said. "They are so late getting this out. It would be nice if we had workshops; it's way late."

Carpenter added that she is disappointed in the visibility and detail of the proposed budget.

"Last year things were invisible, and that is how we ran out of money," Carpenter said. "People played with expenditures and that's how we got into challenges."

Erica Earl, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081.

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