BRADENTON -- Anyone interested in taking part in the Manatee County School District’s budgeting process has received an open invitation from the school district to get involved via online avenues.
Officials announced Tuesday residents can use the district’s website at www.manateeschools.net to follow the process.
“We’re hoping the entire community will follow as we go along,” said Mike Barber, Manatee County School District spokesman. “We’re just trying to make it as simple for the community to follow and participate.”
Once on the website, the budget development link can be accessed. It’s under the hot topics banner. Barber said residents can view agendas, videos and minutes of workshops and public hearings. Plus, residents can opt to email or call in their suggestions. The budget hotline is 941-708-8770, ext. 2233, and callers can leave messages.
Barber said Twitter and Facebook also will be used to update followers on the goings-on in the district. The Twitter address is @Manateeschools. The Facebook account is under School District of Manatee County.
“We want the community -- all the stakeholders -- to give us input,” Superintendent Tim McGonegal said Wednesday.
He added that budget decisions are very important to the district. As a result, district officials wanted board members to receive as much information as possible to be fully aware before making decisions.
“Some of the best suggestions we’ve gotten have come from teachers and parents,” McGonegal said.
The suggestions received from online or by phone will be collected on a regular basis, district officials say. However, they ask that the website not be used as a “forum for political debate or personal attacks on district employees or departments.”
Last budget year, the district invited different members of the community to review the budget and offer recommendations. That committee has been disbanded for the 2012-13 budget year. Instead, district officials hope to get a broader suggestion pool through online methods.