MANATEE -- A new budget proposal from Manatee County School Superintendent Tim McGonegal would cut some employee salaries by as much as 5 percent, establish furlough days for others and shut down the school district at spring break. The proposed cuts would add up to about $14.04 million.
This recommendation serves as the fifth budget cut plan revealed to school officials. McGonegal originally sought to cut either $11 million or $17 million, depending on which plan met the school board's approval.
School board Chairman Robert Gause offered his own budget cut recommendations in mid-June. He believed the budget should not have furloughs. He also didn’t want teachers’ jobs to be eliminated. And he wanted more district costs to be cut -- as much as $2 million. Gause’s overall plan cut about $16.4 million, relying heavily on an across-the-board salary pay cut.
In the past, McGonegal shied away from a pay cut. He thought cuts were bad for employee morale. Then he received board members’ viewpoints on specific issues: furlough days vs. salary cuts; cutting $11 million or $17 million; and whether or not to cut dollars from schools. McGonegal’s new plan is a hybrid between his first suggestion to cut $11 million and Gause’s recommendations.
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“We’re rolling salaries back to the 2006-2007 level,” McGonegal said about the recommendation. “It’s not perfect. But our school funding is at the 2002-2003 level.”
McGonegal’s new recommendations call for a pay cut by as much as 5 percent for district employees and 3 percent for teachers. Lower paid employees are recommended to receive a 1 percent salary cut and take three furlough days. He also eliminated about 25 district positions, he said. Plus, the plan calls for a shutdown during spring break to save the district about $245,429.
As of July 1, school employees were required to take about 3 percent out of their pay to add to their retirement, in accordance with state law. If approved by board members, McGonegal’s new plan will require district officials to take as much as an 8 percent salary cut. Teachers will take about a 6 percent pay cut.
Board members are expected to vote on the recommended budget cuts in a meeting scheduled for June 11.