Now that the Manatee School District’s one-mill referendum has passed, what happens next?
First, the school board is set to meet on Friday ahead of spring break next week to determine a timeline.
While the process isn’t set in stone yet, superintendent Diana Greene said that once the break ends and business resumes on April 2, the first item from the referendum to be addressed will be the extended school day.
“The first decision that we will be making is bringing the school start and stop times before the board,” Greene said Wednesday. “It’s very important that that information gets to the board soon for approval so it gets to parents well in advance of any changes.”
School teachers, bus drivers and other employees benefiting from the millage should expect to get their raises by the beginning of the 2018-19 school year, Greene said.
After learning the results on Tuesday night, school employees expressed their excitement with the passage, with many commenting on social media their gratitude to voters that the issue of their pay is being recognized.
“People who dedicate their lives to care for your most prize possessions deserve to earn a decent living,” one retired school teacher wrote.
The Citizens Financial Advisory Committee will oversee the distribution and allocation of the tax funds once they come in, the district says.
Some of those committee members — nine, to be exact — were already voted in by the school board during a Feb. 13 board meeting. The individuals, board chairman Scott Hopes said, are all local experts in finance, accounting, budgeting and business.
The board, Hopes said, plans to appoint another six members to the committee, bringing the total number to 15.
Hopes said the committee, while having other financial responsibilities, will “have the primary charge of providing the fiscal oversight that the district is budgeting those dollars in accordance to the will of the people.”
The chairman also says he expects the group to meet at least monthly and assured it will not be a once or twice-yearly setup.
“I believe this community who supported this referendum expects us to reach a high level of fiscal efficiency and accountability and for these dollars to translate into student success and academic achievement,” Hopes said. “And the finance committee will be in a position to attest to the fact that the school district is delivering on its commitment.”
HOW THE MONEY BREAKS DOWN, ACCORDING TO THE DISTRICT
According to the Manatee County School District, teachers will receive 51 percent of the estimated $33 million it would generate each year, which works out to an average pay increase of $5,842 per teacher. This amount also covers the added time worked in the extended school day.
Bus drivers will receive 8 percent of the money, which means an average pay increase of $1,275 per driver.
Paraprofessionals, which include teachers’ aides and assistants, will get 5 percent of the money, which comes out to an average pay increase of $2,400.
District charter schools get a share of 14.5 percent, while STEM/CTAE programs get 15.5 percent.
Other school staff, including administrators, receive some of the money as well due to the extended school day.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TAX PAYERS?
A mill is $1 per every $1,000 of a property’s value, with the first $25,000 being exempt.
According to the school district’s website, the millage will cost the owner of a $225,000 home about $200 per year, or $17 per month.