Rick Mills, Manatee County School District superintendent, held a “Soup with the Supe,” event Wednesday at the Ranch Grill in Lakewood Ranch, where members of the community enjoyed a free lunch and learned about the latest district happenings.
As attendees sipped soup, Mills sat on a stool in the front of a dining room and told the state of the district, hitting on topics such as budget concerns, school board performance and class sizes.
In a particularly passionate moment, Mills promised to be transparent with the public, in a nod to a closed-door policy carried by the former administration.
“This staff will never hold information back,” Mills said. “I’m here to tell you that we’re back to fiscal stability. Before, it was like a plane taking a nosedive. Now, we’re starting to climb and move forward.”
Mills also talked positively about a recent conversation he had with Pam Stewart, commissioner of the Florida Department of Education, regarding his bid to reduce or eliminate fines owed to the state as a result of district audits by the State Auditor General’s Office.
“She indicated she would be as lenient as she can within the bounds of the law,” Mills said.
Mills will talk with Stewart again Friday morning, when he hopes to learn more detail about potential fines.
Contact Josh Siegel at [email protected].