Manatee County school board doesn't merit pay hike now

June 28, 2014 

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

I have followed the ups and downs of our Manatee County school board and the struggles that have plagued our school system for several years now. But nothing has hit me as hard as what I read in the June 22 Herald.

The front page explained in detail how our school board proposes to give themselves a raise -- a proposed $1,400 raise along with new personal tablets and a part-time assistant.

This budget includes salaries and benefits for board members, costs associated with school board legal fees and paying membership dues plus more than $5,000 to purchase five new tablets and associated accessories for the board members. Seriously?

This board is looking to increase their salary by $1,426. That means that most of them will be making in excess of $39,000.

Am I missing something here? Isn't this the same board that wanted to sell property next to Jesse P. Miller Elementary School to help cover some of the deficit that has been accrued over the past years?

Isn't this the same board that has been "struggling" to bring its reserves to $10.3 million as required by the state? Isn't this the same board that auditors ordered their district to restore about $7 million in funding that has been misspent in past budgets?

How can you, in good conscience, do this?

I simply cannot believe that you who are elected officials would even think that giving yourselves raises and tablets would sit well with the people you represent, the people who put you in office.

Don't you think that our tax dollars could be put to better use? Let's get ourselves out of debt and out of the mess that our school system is in and then think about raises and new technology.

To do this now is like a slap in the face. Do your job first, then reward yourselves.

Like the quote about Shoeless Joe Jackson, "Say it ain't so!"

Debbie Marcum


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