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Manatee County looking to hire 85 teachers

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MANATEE COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

The Manatee county school district is putting up the 'Now hiring' sign.

The system is in need of 85 new teachers to handle a spike in enrollment.

All of these teachers cost money and the school district has had some budget issues lately, so News Channel 8 wanted to see where the funding is coming from.

Schools like Jessie P. Miller Elementary in Bradenton have come back to life.

It's a new year for Manatee county schools and that means new students, apparently lots of them. The school district finished a tally and learned there are 950 more students than they projected for, so the district is now hiring 85 new teachers.

Manatee County School superintendent Rick Mills said, "We're immediately moving forward with posting and hiring."

Superintendent Rick Mills says the teachers will come at a cost of $4.3 million.

The bulk of that cash will come from the state and the rest will come from money set aside in the school district's budget.

The teachers are needed so the district can meet the state's classroom size requirements.

Four of those new hires will be coming here to Miller Elementary School. A school official said students will be reassigned from crowded classrooms to be placed with these new instructors.

Mills said, "As we bring a teacher into a classroom, we'll have to adjust other classrooms and teachers' enrollments until we get them down and fill up that classroom."

School officials are pleased to see a spike in student numbers.

"I'm very excited about the growth for enrollment. That's very much positive kind of shot in the arm for the district, for the confidence of parents and members of the community," said Mills.

You could say this is a good problem, but the school district has had other real problems to manage. In June, we reported the school district had to cut this year's budget by $21 million and lay off 182 teachers.

Mills said in the reduced budget they set aside money for growth.

"We're still very much focused on balancing our budget at the end of next year," said Mills.

The superintendent said many of the laid off teachers will be eligible to be considered for the new openings.

With the budget issues and the controversy surrounding former Manatee High Assistant football coach Rod Frazier, it has been a rocky few months for the school district.

But Mills is optimistic for the future.

He said, "We've identified we've had many challenges and we obviously put that out there, became transparent, now it's time to move forward in the school district and I'm very, very excited about our future."

The president of the Manatee Education Association, a local teachers' union, told News Channel 8 she's thrilled about the news.

But she hopes the district gives many of the young laid-off teachers a second chance.

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