The Manatee County School Board unanimously adopted a $568.3 million budget Tuesday night.
Robert Gause did not participate in the 4-0 vote, due to a commitment out of the state.
Highlights of the budget include:
- Money allocated to fund 85 new teachers required by roughly 950 extra students that enrolled in the school district this year.
- Through a savings plan, the district budgeted $10.3 million to build up reserves to the state-mandated 3%. It would be the first time in four years the district meets the state figure.
- A tax rate decrease, from 7.589 to 7.572 mills. Rising home values mean property owners will still pay more than in the past.
- A repayment of 33% internal account money the district borrowed from individual schools at the end of last school year to boost the general fund. The district vows to repay all the money in three years.
- Pay raises for teachers and members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
Superintendent Rick Mills said the budget process, his first, was challenging because the district had to create a line-item budget from scratch.
Last year's budget, which was incomplete and inaccurate, contributing to a multi-million dollar budget deficit, was unreliable.
"The budget approved by the school board is a realistic and executable budget that will help the Manatee County School District move forward succesfully," Mills said. "It is now time to turn our attention to what matters most, and that is supporting our schools and teachers in raising the achievement levels of more than 46,000 students."
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