Manatee School Board approves more raises

eearl@bradenton.comSeptember 24, 2013 

MANATEE -- The Manatee County School Board unanimously approved 2 percent salary increases for non-bargaining employees at a meeting Monday evening, despite concern over the cost.

The salary increase is the last of three pay raises presented in May, including raises for teachers in the Manatee Education Association and janitors, bus drivers and food services workers in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

The raise is for all employees not represented by a union, except for senior leadership. The raise includes district employees such as school secretaries.

While the pay raise passed in a 5-0 vote, school board member Bob Gause said he is concerned they will cost the district $860,433.

"If it is an unbudgeted expense, I am concerned about the district's ability to pay for it," Gause said. "I am looking for reassurance. Is it not in our budget yet?"

Deputy superintendent of operations Don Hall said the pay raises are in the budget.

"As other things come up, we will make changes and shifts in the budgets," Hall said. "We will do everything we can to watch the cost."

Between the sale of the Owens Annex property for $2.07 million and the surplus property at the former Ellenton School and the Parent Information Center, the district is anticipating bringing in $3.9 million more for its general fund.

However, Dave "Watchdog" Miner said last week the estimates might be "premature."

The school board also unanimously approved hiring two new employees in the district's finance department.

Heather Jenkins will join as the district budget director, and Thomas Crosby is the new director of finance.

Jenkins now works as director of administration in the division of culture and history for West Virginia. She previously served in West Virginia's auditor's office.

Crosby has been director of facilities for the Marion County School Board since July. He was the chief financial officer for the Lake County School Board in 2005-06.

Jenkins and Crosby will start the third week of October. Crosby's salary is $95,092 and Jenkins' salary is $84,438.

Calls to Jenkins and Crosby were not immediately returned.

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

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