The Manatee County School District announced it must adjust its budget by $3.9 million one month into the new fiscal year.
At a workshop Monday afternoon, the district said new, unexpected costs since the school board adopted its 2013-14 budget in September — such as the need to hire additional Exceptional Student Education (ESE) paraprofessionals and gifted teachers to meet state requirements — led to the discrepancy.
Those costs include $489,000 to hire 27 ESE paraprofessionals, $317,000 for seven gifted teachers, $407,000 for nine voluntary prekindergarten (VPK) teachers and $200,000 for nine VPK teacher aides.
All current pre-kindergarten ESE classes are at full capacity or over capacity, the district says, while 60 gifted students are not being served and 140 such students are considered under-served.
Another cost — $800,000 — came from an error in transitioning teachers from Central High School, which recently closed, to other high schools.
To make-up the money, the district will freeze hiring of non essential employees beginning in November, reduce the central office’s budget by $1 million and take $700,000 from reserves, among other things.
The district now expects to have a projected fund balance — reserves — of $9.35 million, less than the $10.3 million Mills sent to the state as part of his financial recovery plan, required because the district had not met minimum reserves for three straight years.
Read more on this story in the Oct. 31 East County Observer.
Contact Josh Siegel at [email protected].