BRADENTON - With state funding of public education falling, the Manatee County School Board on Monday night approved Superintendent Tim McGonegal's recommended budget cuts.
The vote was 4-0. Board member Barbara Harvey was not present.
The reductions included a reorganization at district headquarters that eliminated 48 positions to save $3.5 million and budget cuts that brought the total budget cuts to $13.6 million.
It's a difficult process, McGonegal told the board, and sometimes controversial, especially the conversion of the Duette one-room school to a contract site to save money.
But it had to be done, he said, because the state is sending less and less money to the school districts and they have no choice but to cut and cut again despite financial help from the federal government. The stimulus money from the federal government will run out in two years, he said, and the district had to move forward and begin cutting spending or face the need to cut more down the road.
McGonegal said he was glad that there were no across-the-board pay cuts this time. In fact, the board also approved in 4-0 votes amendments to the district's contracts with teachers and paraprofessionals.
He also suggested that the district establish a rainy day fund to withstand financial downturns and avoid having to make sudden budget cuts if the district's revenue is cut in the middle of the school year.
The board agreed after debate and public input to reconsider the proposed new policy on student enrollment and educational decisions, a policy regarding the children of divorced parents and issues of access and pickup after school.
The proposal came about because of a change in the state's divorce laws and in light of incidents at schools in which law enforcement has had to be called to deal with situations.
Palmetto school deal
The board voted 4-0 on each of eight measures to approve the purchase and sale of land for a new school in the city of Palmetto. The deal involves the district, the city of Palmetto, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Manatee County and the Manatee County Girls Club, also called Just for Girls.
Career resource center
During public comment and during the discussion over budget cuts, the Manatee High School College and Career Resource Center was mentioned and defended as an essential and successful resource for student seeking to obtain college information and scholarships.
Other new business
The board voted 4-0 to approve advertising a notice of rule development to amend policy 4.3 on education of English limited students, and policy 5.1, the student code of conduct.
The board also voted 4-0 to approve the repaint and canopy repairs at Bradenton River Middle School.
The board voted 4-0 to approve the consent agenda, which included:
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