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Manatee Co. Schools proposing teacher cuts

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BRADENTON, FL (WFLA) -

The Manatee County school superintendent says the district is in a financial crisis.

One of the proposals to save the district includes cutting the number of teachers and many parents are not happy about it.

Outside the Manatee County school board, several dozen parents and children stood along the side of the road yelling an impassioned plea: "Save our teachers! Save our teachers!"

Superintendent Rick Mills says the school system needs to make $14.8 million dollars worth of cuts for the next fiscal year, and one solution is cutting 182 teachers.

Concerned parent Christine Sket said, "They're with our children every day and we just, we really know right now they're not feeling very respected."

Mills announced the news in a robocall last week saying:

"Because of a lack of fiscal discipline and controls, our school district has hired too many employees over the last several years. For example, we have hired so many teachers that our district's class sizes are lower than the state's Class-Size Amendment requires, and our academic performance is still lagging behind most of the state. This overstaffing has cost the school district millions of dollars a year and placed an unsustainable strain on the financial health of our school system. Therefore we must realign the staffing needs of our school district to be both fiscally sound, and strategically appropriate. While attrition

Concerned parent Alisha Rigney said, "We love our teachers and we don't' want them to leave."

In a school board workshop meeting, Mills said the school system has not balanced its budget for two years and it needs to reduce its expenses.

The school system made a detail study of its finances and officials say there are too many teachers in the county.

Reducing these positions will save $3.7 million dollars.

But many parents are worried about the aftermath.

"If we get rid of the teachers first, then our quality of education goes down," said Rigney

 Some of the other proposals included selling county fleet vehicles and closing Central High School.

The school board will decide on the suggestions at an upcoming meeting.

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