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Manatee School Board Discusses Funding for Tentative Budget


(Update: The name of the school mentioned in the article, Anna Maria Elementary, was corrected following publishing.)

BRADENTON – Advertisement of the July 31 public hearing for the Manatee School District’s tentative budget for the coming school year was approved at the school board’s special meeting on Thursday.  

During the meeting, safety and security for schools and decreasing the school board portion of the budget were discussed at length.

The topic of Anna Maria Elementary possibly being without a School Resource Officer for the coming year was at the forefront for much of the meeting. Holmes Beach Police Chief William Tokajer was present to urge the board to not leave the school without an officer. 

Board Chair Julie Aranibar reminded board members during the meeting that there was a unanimous vote on their last consent agenda for safety and security of schools to be a priority, and that she would ask for additional time to cover safety and security at the next meeting. Speaking after adjournment, Aranibar said that leaving Anna Maria Elementary out of the program cannot go forward, adding that the board needs to ensure security equity for all schools. 

Dave Miner also stated support for ensuring a resource officer at the school, saying that the district “should step up to the plate in protecting our children.”

The budget is projected by Interim CFO Conley Weiss to leave a fund balance of $12.5 million. Superintendent Rick Mills advised that one of the goals for the budget was to reduce funding for departments by 2 percent.  

The board and the superintendent showed agreement in wanting to decrease the amount of funds in the School Board portion of the budget.  

When asked by board member Bob Gause if he and his staff agreed with the amount of funding currently in the budget for the school board, Mills said “no,” and that his staff and the board should seek to relocate some of that funding to other areas of the budget. 

Interim CFO Conley Weiss gave appraisal of the document during his remarks at the start of the meeting, saying the tentative budget “will allow the district to meet their mission of educating 45,000 students the coming year.” 

Miner also had positive remarks during the meeting: “What I hope people will keep in mind is the effort by this board, by this district, to be more customer friendly, to be more transparent, to be more accessible; particularly with what we’re doing with our money,” he said.


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