Another good grade
Cheers to the School District of Manatee County, the School Board and the citizens Audit Committee for another sign of a complete reversal of the district’s fortunes — as confirmed by what amounts to a clean review by the state auditor general. This week’s report, presented by the state official to the committee Wednesday, shows a remarkable recovery from disaster.
As stakeholders well remember, the startling revelations about the district’s unaccountable misspending and financial plunge into a budget deficit, additional mismanagement and state policy violations, and the abrupt resignation of the superintendent rocked the county years ago. The 2013 report of the auditor general’s investigation listed some 42 deficiencies in district procedures, policies and spending. The grisly details included shocked legislators pounding the district, calling the audit of school system finances “radioactive” and “appalling.”
Their anger was fully justified. The 2013 state audit found the district’s deficit doubled from $4.1 million to $8.6 million in 2012-2013, the culmination of five years of deficit spending. State and federal audits also found questionable spending amounting to $7.2 million and ordered the district to refund that money. But the district quickly balanced the budget and built a significant surplus beyond state requirements.
The new review, covering the 2015-2016 fiscal year, only found nine operational deficiencies, none significant, and not a single financial finding. In March 2016, the auditor general came here and told the school district only one concern could be found.
Once again, the district — and the community — can celebrate another good audit. We expect this upward trajectory to continue.
Didn’t see that coming
Jeers to the Florida Legislature, in particular the House, for refusing to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The bill for that folly is coming due.
As one of 19 states rejecting billions in federal aid for expansion — with the excuse that it be too costly covering more working-poor families in the future, the Sunshine State faces that anyway. Should the Republican-led Congress repeal Obamacare, Medicaid enrollment won’t disappear.
The irony here is some 2.4 million poor and uninsured Americans in those 19 states signed up and qualified for Medicaid anyway — drawn to enrolling in the program by aggressive public awareness campaigns by the Obama administration. Where did the most new Medicaid recipients come from? Florida, with almost 540,000.
Those new enrollees are likely to retain that health care coverage because they qualified under state income guidelines. Federal repeal of ACA won’t have an impact on state regulations.
So Florida will be paying millions more for Medicaid in the future with all those new recipients anyway — while losing out on the billions that could have been accepted during the first few years of Obamacare. The Legislature did not dodge higher Medicaid costs no matter what happens to ACA. Certain obstinate lawmakers outsmarted themselves.
Hey, that’s Rappin’ Raz
Check out this video of retired Bradenton Police Chief Michael Radzilowski saluting the recently retired Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube. With some rap song moves.
That’s Rappin’ Raz, as he calls himself, first ripping off sunglasses and then gettin’ down with some hipster moves that only retirees would attempt. Cheers to his bold spirit.
His video can be found at bradenton.com. Click on “videos”and scroll down for this, shall we say, unique tribute.
Quote of the week
“This is not a promise. This is a ‘have-to.’ We have to do this. If we don’t, I guess we will invest in mega-portables to just put everywhere.”
— Manatee County Schools Superintendent Diana Greene, telling the school board and public Tuesday about the requirement for $180 million to build or expand schools over the next five years to accommodate the growing student population.