BRADENTON – At Monday's Public Hearing, the Manatee School Board approved the adoption of a tentative budget for the 2013-14 year in a 4-0 vote. Board member David Miner was absent from the meeting.
Board chair Karen Carpenter said that the adopted $564,891,871 budget would be adjusted as need be in the future, and that the current version was "our best estimate at what our income and expenses are going to be."
Though the district, according to the tentative budget, will receive increased state and local funding, the budget shows cuts in many areas, including school transportation and instructional technology. It will also see many slight changes in expenditures for administration and pupil-related expenses, and a significant increase in expenses for instructional services (almost $13 million). For food services, there will be an increase of almost $2.2 million in total expenses.
In comparison to last year, the district will receive almost an increase of almost $17 million in state funding, and an increase of almost $6 million in local funding.
For special revenue funds and grants, federal funding for handicapped education has markedly decreased (almost $5 million), as has federal funding for instructional services (almost $6 million).
At one point during the meeting, Deputy Superintendent of Operations Don Hall, responding to board member Robert Gause's request for an easier way to compare allocations between last year's budget and this year's, said that comparisons are not made easy.
"Last year's budget has no validity," Hall said, adding that the district has $9 million more than what it actually had in last year's budget, which suffered from a shortfall of more than $3 million.
The budget document includes a noted drop in the tax millage rate by .22 percent, which the board approved in a separate vote from the budget vote at the hearing. The rate drop means a slight decrease in the school district's portion of local property taxes, though the school district will see an additional $5.3 million from increased tax revenues for the upcoming school year due to rebounding property values.
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