I write this as a taxpayer of Manatee County and former teacher who knows that the largest item on our property tax bill, and a large part of our sales taxes, is education.
We all pay taxes, but sadly we do not all pay attention to how, and by whom, these hundreds of millions are spent.
Our school district has gone through several years of financial distress due to mismanagement and malfeasance by staff and superintendents appointed by school board members who served years before incumbents Julie Aranibar and Karen Carpenter were elected.
These two honest, hard-working women and dedicated incumbents, who actually live in their districts, are the ones who uncovered and began to correct this mess actually created, in part, by one of their opponents.
In short order, almost miraculously, they made up the shortfall without harming the progress of Manatee County schools, which have finally begun to show significant relative scholastic improvement.
They brought in a new "sheriff," Rick Mills, as superintendent. Rick was a no-nonsense tough guy we needed to drain the swamp, and he has.
He ruffled a few feathers, as seen in letters to this paper by people I know and respect. But they all agree Rick is a good man.
It is an off-year primary election. Many of you may be out of town. But no other local election will affect more of your tax money and how efficiently it is spent than this one.
No other election is more important to our public schools than this one on Aug. 26. Early voting runs Aug. 16-23. Please vote.
And please vote for Julie Aranibar and Karen Carpenter and a new guy, Rodney K. Jones. He is a highly experienced business manager who has worked in budgeting and education most of his life. These are all good, honest people.
Ruth A. Kraner