National Opinions

Julie Aranibar, Manatee County School Board candidate, District 5, rebuttal to Herald endorsement

Our schools and our children is a topic that is on the minds and hearts of many residents.

In 1998 we moved here with 3-year-old twins and have been volunteering, supporting this community, and owned a business and property in Manatee. My children have graduated from Manatee public schools and have had the best teachers.

In 2000 I was encouraged by Dr. Dan Nolan to serve on a sales tax committee, and we were told that it would need about $200 million to fix and repair schools. As of today we have spent $750 million and still owe $340 million. This is what happens without proper budgets, controls and audits.

We now have education as our first priority. Our teachers and staff have their second contract with pay increases. Employees have had to contribute to pension and pick up added health care costs. Things are not perfect; we have had to make tough decisions which are not easy. We also have had many new state laws which were passed that impact our youngest children. This board has taken a united stand with our teachers to request math and reading testing only for elementary. There are simply not enough minutes in the day for all of the new requirements.

I am the only candidate who has lived and raised children here in Manatee and endorsed by the teachers (MEA Tiger), bus drivers, cafeteria and maintenance staff (AFSME), business and community leaders. I cared enough to get involved when things were not right and would not remain silent as teachers had their pay cut to balance a budget. All of my service and experience has been in our K-12 programs. I support the efforts and our MTI program, but last year the records and finances could not be audited and accountability rests with those in charge.

Thank you for the privilege of representing our community and ask for your vote for Manatee County School Board to continue the progress. We are heading in the right direction.

Thank You.

Julie Aranibar, Manatee County School Board, District 5