BRADENTON -- Changes coming to the Manatee County School District may include redistricting and opening or closing schools.
The Manatee County School Board heard the administration's plan Tuesday to have an outside company help with long-term master planning.
The draft proposal has not been sent out to vendors yet, as district officials said they wanted feedback from the board first.
"Change is going to happen one way or another and we need to do our best to manage that change effectively," said Robert Johnson, district director of planning and performance management.
Johnson made his presentation during a workshop before the regular board meeting. Members asked him to gather testimonials and information from other districts that underwent comprehensive analyses similar to Manatee County's plans, to make sure the expenditure is worth the cost.
"It's almost impossible to find a true apples-to-apples comparison," Johnson said but indicated he'd pass along information he gathers.
District officials have not estimated the cost of the process but have said they hope to have recommendations for board members in the spring.
Once information is available, it will be important for the board to act, said member Bob Gause.
"We can't just visualize the change. We're going to have to have the courage to act on it," Gause said.
During the regularly scheduled board meeting, members delayed deciding whether to officially fire two former employees.
The board postponed officially firing Gregg Faller and Matthew Kane, former Manatee High School assistant principals. The two were initially fired in September 2013 for failure to report suspicions of child abuse in the Roderick Frazier case. The men, also brought up on criminal charges, fought the district ruling through separate administrative hearings.
The administrative hearings concluded in August and September with judges ruling the district had just cause to fire Faller and Kane. The board is required to submit a final order in each case.
On Monday, Kane asked board members Karen Carpenter and Julie Aranibar to recuse themselves and also blasted the district for offering a resignation-in-lieu-of-termination agreement and then revoking the agreement.
The agreement was revoked when Kane did not accept the terms, said staff attorney Mitchell Teitelbaum.
Board members unanimously voted to postpone final hearings on the cases so members could have more time to review complete transcripts and evidence.
The board also heard from a handful of parents who read anonymous letters on behalf of Manatee County teachers they claimed were too afraid to address the board.
The common complaint was a poor work environment, with a focus on testing and decreased resources.
Teachers are afraid to speak publicly, the speakers said.
"Please don't take our silence as acceptance or approval," said Stacy Bartik, as she read a letter she said was on behalf of a teacher.
Another common complaint was too much time focused on using technology in the classroom.
"We want to stop scheduling and supervising as students use computers. We want to teach," said Jennifer Bade in reading a letter on behalf of a teacher.
Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter @MeghinDelaney.