Finally, after many years of fiscal mismanagement, I have seen the Manatee School District create a balanced budget that was accomplished without raising the millage. I realize there have been sacrifices and not everyone is happy with some of the fiscal reorganization activities, but the outcome definitely outweighs a few touted or real negatives.
Residents owe the sitting school board, Rick Mills and his management team gratitude for their hard work.
It is just short of a miracle that they turned an $8.5 million shortfall into a surplus of $13.5 million, considering that the district also had to absorb $5.9 million in repayment of past financial failures and fiscal mismanagement. For the first time since 2009/10 school year, the district has met the state-required reserve.
The board and staff also found funds to put security officers in elementary schools, upgrade buses and put 6,000 more computers in classrooms.
It is crucial in this election that the voters show support for the efforts put into this recovery by retaining Julie Aranibar and Karen Carpenter, who have stayed the course during a very disruptive prior administration.
We need to put divisive politics and negative tactics aside to build on what we've already achieved together. Focus on our students' needs.