Finally, after many years of fiscal mismanagement, I have seen the Manatee School District create a balanced budget that was accomplished without raising the millage. I realize there have been sacrifices and not everyone is happy with some of the fiscal reorganization activities, but the outcome definitely outweighs a few touted or real negatives.
Residents owe the sitting school board, Rick Mills and his management team gratitude for their hard work.
It is just short of a miracle that they turned an $8.5 million shortfall into a surplus of $13.5 million, considering that the district also had to absorb $5.9 million in repayment of past financial failures and fiscal mismanagement. For the first time since 2009/10 school year, the district has met the state-required reserve.
The board and staff also found funds to put security officers in elementary schools, upgrade buses and put 6,000 more computers in classrooms.
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It is crucial in this election that the voters show support for the efforts put into this recovery by retaining Julie Aranibar and Karen Carpenter, who have stayed the course during a very disruptive prior administration.
We need to put divisive politics and negative tactics aside to build on what we've already achieved together. Focus on our students' needs.