The chief financial officer for the School District of Manatee County has resigned.
Rebecca Roberts submitted her resignation to the district Nov. 13 and said she intends her last day to be Jan. 5.
“After much thought (and lost sleep) I have decided to leave the District,” Roberts said in her resignation letter to Superintendent Dianna Greene obtained by the Bradenton Herald.
The move is something she said has been “in the works for a while.”
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“I am only leaving because of personal reasons,” Roberts said.
But the move comes at a time when the district is under pressure to reconcile its ledger because of a year-old glitch in the payroll system. The district is also hoping voters will approve a 1 mill increase in school property taxes, which would generate an extra $33 million, during a special election on March 20.
At the end of 2016, the School District of Manatee County discovered it couldn’t reconcile its ledger due to a glitch in the payroll system. The glitch, which made reconciling impossible since December 2016, was finally fixed Sept. 7, Roberts has told the Herald. Since then, officials have said the reconciliation is a priority.
The district is set to go online with a new $19 million computer system in summer 2018.
Roberts moved into the CFO role in 2014 after less than a year as the head of finance for the school district. She replaced Michael Boyer, who had resigned from his position.
“During the time I’ve been here, we’ve worked tirelessly to make improvements,” Roberts said, pointing to four balanced budgets and the school’s grade improving from a C to a B.
Should the district name an interim CFO before her scheduled departure, Roberts said she would be willing to help them move into the role.
“(Roberts) came in at a time when the district was having even more severe financial challenges, and we’re going to have to change the way we operate the district and fiscal management,” newly appointed School Board of Manatee County chairman Scott Hopes said.
Hopes said he and Greene will meet Monday to discuss how to move forward with filling the CFO position. Roberts’ annual salary, according to the Herald’s salary database, is $121,124.
He also aims to have a finance committee in place shortly after the Dec. 12 board meeting and workshop. The committee, Hopes said, will assist the board in restructuring how the district operates financially.
“I believe we are still in very good hands. We’re going to work through this and when the students come back from winter break, we’ll be stronger than before,” Hopes said.
The district has met its fund-balance requirement each of the past four years and finished the last school year with a total fund balance of $25.5 million, according to a statement from the district.
In fiscal year 2016, the district received a Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Association of School Business Officials International.
Roberts credited the school district’s employees for the success.
“It’s a tremendous team. I can’t emphasize that enough,” Roberts said. “I’m going to miss them. It gets more difficult every day saying goodbye.”
Roberts said she is not going to another school district and wished the district continued success in her letter.
“It is a tremendous loss because she has played a critical role in improving the financial performance of our school district,” Greene said in a statement from the district. “Rebecca is highly respected and we all wish her the very best.”