Be vigilant about Manatee County school district

March 11, 2014 

You might think the Manatee County school district is completely dysfunctional now, but I see it differently.

Since 2001, this school district had five board members mostly operating as puppets walking in lockstep for two successive superintendents with a school board attorney pulling the strings.

However, there were changes in 2010 when Karen Carpenter and Julie Aranibar were elected. They started asking questions which the former superintendent would not or could not answer. We are just now starting to find out why.

Before Superintendent Rick Mills and his staff arrived at our wild and crazy district, there were few workshops being conducted, committees being disbanded, and bullying by the former superintendent and his administration. Much misinformation was disseminated to conceal the truth. Understandably, this community has experienced a great deal of distrust and anger.

Conducting televised workshops and committee meetings contributes to public trust. Following Florida Sunshine laws is mandatory. Without these things, we are no better than before and we will progress.

The school district operates like any business, and there will always be some give and take and down-right heated discussions which I find healthy for a working board.

However, interrupting board members is not productive and all should come to the meeting prepared. The workshops are a great place for an honest discussion even if it's contentious.

Televising all meetings gives the public a chance to observe board members' body language and facial expressions, which are the road maps to their souls.

Remember, we are still dealing with the culture of corruption and we need a clean slate. Free speech isn't free but if you don't use it you will lose it.

Peggy Martin

Manatee County

Bradenton Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service