Manatee School District approves tentative $588 million budget

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BRADENTON - The Manatee County School District started the 2013-2014 school year with an $8.9 million shortfall.  Now, the district's fund balance for the next school year is a projected $13.5 million.

The school board met Thursday night to discuss how to use that money.  The board passed a tentative $558 million budget that places emphasis on security and safety.  The new budget provides for at least one full-time armed security person at every elementary school.

Deputy Superintendent Don Hall says, "The staff, the employees at the support level, the board, the Superintendent, and the management team never gave up.  They never lost faith in the district and its people."

The school board's focus on safety follows the results of a survey taken in 2013.  Manatee County residents cited the issue as their first concern.

A vote on the final budget plan is expected to come in September.