Manatee County school board must address sales tax bond

June 8, 2014 

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Manatee County School Board member Julie Aranibar and Manatee School District Superintendent Rick Mills, listen as a member of the public speaks during public comments at a school board meeting in late May. GRANT JEFFERIES/Bradenton Herald

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Manatee County voters need to ask some questions and demand answers from our current and former school board members.

In reference to the audit of a small portion of the sales tax monies:

1. Of the one bond note audited, it was found that $6.4 million, or 15 percent, was spent on items other than specified in the bond. Taking into consideration that the sales tax revenue bonds totaled $170 million, a 15 percent error rate could indicate that $25.5 million was not spent as agreed.

Do taxpayers find that this is an acceptable error percentage?

2. In the draft submitted by Oscher Consulting, P.A,, on May 2, 2014, they state repeatedly that they have requested supporting documentation which had not been made available to them at the time.

Has this information been provided?

3. The audit firm stated, "It is apparent that the transaction involving expenses and transfers to debt service being charged to Fund 309 were made do not appear to have been authorized. Counsel for the school board is currently investigating."

Is it possible former Superintendent Tim McGonegal may have some culpability in this matter?

4. Some members of the sales tax committee were asking for information regarding charges to Fund 309 for several years.

What person was preventing the transmission of this information?

5. Why was the sales tax committee disbanded? A poll of the attending members might present the answers that could be unsettling.

If we don't get our school finances in order, there will not be adequate monies to educate our children. We are on the right track. We need to ask more questions and demand answers from all of them.

Why do some residents of Manatee County want to throw it all away? What is their game plan?

Peggy Martin, Taxpayers Watch Committee Bradenton

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