Banker Charlie Conoley joins Manatee County School Board District 3 race

Charlie Conoley. PHOTO PROVIDED
Charlie Conoley. PHOTO PROVIDED

BRADENTON -- Banker Charlie Conoley joined the Manatee County School Board District 3 race Wednesday.

It's Conoley's first step into electoral politics. He said his budgeting expertise and experience on local boards makes him a strong candidate.

"With a very large budget, it seems like our school board over the years has had some organizational and budgeting issues. I thought I could definitely provide some good experience to tackle those problems," he said. Conoley, 57, is vice president at 1st Manatee Bank and lives in Northwest Bradenton.

School board races are nonpartisan and candidates must reside in the district in which

they are running. District 3 covers West Bradenton and the islands.

County voters can vote in each school board race, regardless of where they live.

Conoley will face off against incumbent Dave Miner and local planner Misty Servia.

The primary is Aug. 30 and, if no one gets a majority of the vote, a runoff will be Nov. 8.

Other than a two-year stint in Miami, Conoley has lived in Manatee County for the past 30 years. With his youngest child graduating from Manatee High School last spring, and flexibility in his job, Conoley said the time is ripe for him to run for the board. He thinks an outside perspective could find new, more cost-effective ways for the school to do business.

"Any organization over time that's not a profit organization, maybe outside eyes can see more efficient ways of doing the business as well," he said.

Conoley has also worked with the Junior Achievement program in Manatee County, and as part of his work with the bank, he's helped charter schools in rural areas secure financing through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's rural loan program. He hasn't worked with any local charter schools, but said some nontraditional teaching methods charter schools embrace could be helpful for Manatee County, too.

The District 3 seat is one of three seats up for grabs this year.

Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter @MeghinDelaney.