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East County Tuesday, May 19, 2009 10 years ago

McGonegal proposes school cuts

by: Pam McTeer

Manatee County Public School’s Superintendent Tim McGonegal recommended $14 million in cuts for the 2009-10 school year at the Manatee County School Board meeting last night.

McGonegal’s 30-item proposal included eliminating assistant principals in schools that have fewer than 575 students, 36 reading coaches throughout the district and 50 positions at the district office. And although music and art classes would not be affects, some other electives, including physical education, could be lost.

Furthermore, McGonegal proposed a four-day furlough for employees and converting Duette Elementary into a contract site.

McGonegal estimates the cuts would save about $14.1 million. He also anticipates another $14 million from the federal stimulus.

The district originally had anticipated a cut of $20 million, but now, it will face a reduction of $25 million over the next three years. The change can be attributed to several factors, including funding from the federal stimulus package and that the state allowed school districts to transfer money from their capital funds to their operation funds.

“Stakeholders concurred that the district must continue to maintain a high quality of education for our students,” McGonegal said. “I am not recommending across the board salary reductions or school closings and there will be no reduction in school resource officers.”

McGonegal said the input he’s received from the community through Town Hall meetings and budget committee meetings, among other venues, over the last six months has been invaluable in forming his recommendation.

The Manatee County School Board will vote on the budget cuts at its June 8 meeting.

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