MANATEE -- Manatee County School District Superintendent Rick Mills released the fiscal year 2013-14 budget on the school district website Sunday, one day before the budget will be voted on by the Manatee County School Board at a third and final public hearing scheduled for 5:45 p.m. Monday in the board chambers at the School Support Center in Bradenton.
“One of my top priorities as a superintendent is to restore public trust in our school district through complete transparency," Mills said in a press release.
The final budget was posted after the Bradenton Herald reported Sunday that Manatee County school board members had received copies of the "final" annual 2013-14 budget last week. But school district officials told the Herald on Friday they would not release a copy of that $566.9 million budget to the public until after the school board votes on it Monday night.
Mills said two previous public hearings on the 2013-14 budget were held – one more than required by statute – and a list of budget-related documents are posted on the school district’s website, including the 2013-14 tentative budget, a letter from Mills on the budget, a school internal accounts payback schedule, 2013-14 budget overview and line-item budget.
"However, there has been a discrepancy regarding the release of the Final Budget that will be the subject of a third and final public hearing tomorrow evening," Mills wrote. "While the Final Budget was released to members of the Manatee County School Board late last week, it was not posted to our school district website as intended for the public to view.
"I take full responsibility for that oversight."
Mills said as soon as he became aware of that situation, he took "immediate actions" to remedy it and the final budget was posted Sunday afternoon on the website under "Hot Topics."
"Again, as Superintendent I am committed to full and complete transparency in all aspects of our school district," Mills said in the release. "I look forward to working with our School Board and public to finalize this budget as we move forward. ”