Manatee Co. school district stands to lose 7 million dollars - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Manatee Co. school district stands to lose 7 million dollars

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Manatee County Superintendent RIck Mills Manatee County Superintendent RIck Mills
MANATEE COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

The Manatee County School District is going to have to pay up because of its money woes.

A series of audits found the district has been fiscally irresponsible over the past few years. The state has ordered the district to pay $7 million dollars to correct its mistakes.

"They always have budget cuts, and other issues, cutting teachers. I think it’s an ongoing issue that hasn't stopped,” said parent Allison Fortney. Fortney’s ten-year-old daughter Allison is a student.

Over the past few years, the Manatee County School District has overspent millions of dollars. When Superintendent Rick Mills arrived, he made cuts and the school district was on track to have a budget surplus of $8.2 million dollars this year.

Then on Thursday, the Florida Department of Education sent a message.

"The news we received yesterday was painful and disappointing,” said Mills.

A series of audits found that dating back to 2005 the school district inappropriately spent $7 million. The state ordered that money will have to be put back.

It will come of the $8.2 million surplus, leaving the district with a little over a million dollars. Under state requirements, the school district is required to have a budget surplus of $10.3 million.

"I want to say to all our employees in the entire community- we will prevail over this challenge,” said Mills.

For the next fiscal year which begins in July, the school district will have to figure out how to meet their required fund balance of $10.3 million.

The superintendent will look at all available options to meet the challenge.

“I have complete faith in our community, and the employees. We will be a great school district. Together we will restore this district to greatness,” said Mills, while holding back tears.

When News Channel 8 asked whether teacher pay cuts could be on the table, Mills responded, “It’s my goal to reinvest back into our employees. I’ve said that last year- reinvest back into our classrooms. I’m not going to say [teacher pay cuts are] an absolute but I’m confident we’ll be able to make those adjustments without having to get to that level.”

Despite all of this, Fortney is not worried about the quality of her child's education.

“I think education starts at home first. So as long as I continue to be a very active parent, she'll do just fine in school,” she said.

“We will prevail next year, we will be balanced and we will meet the reserve,” Mills emphatically stated.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.


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