Some Anna Maria Elementary students and their parents and family members gather to protest the Manatee County School District’s teacher cuts. Islander Photo: Courtesy Karen Riley-Love
Karen Riley-Love started an online petition, which has collected more than 1,000 signatures since it was posted on Facebook May 22.
She and another parent also launched a Facebook page titled Manatee County Schools: Teacher Eliminations Are Not An Option.
The petition states in part: “The data reported by Manatee County to the Florida Department of Education proves that we have the highest class size averages in Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida. According to a Harvard study, students in small classes are significantly more likely to attend college and exhibit improvements on other outcomes that will help the community, such as home ownership and retirement savings.
“Our teachers promote critical thinking skills, and teach our children to think of the best solution, not just the easiest one. We need our school superintendent to do the same. We would like the school board to first cut administrative personnel and provide incentives for early retirement.
“We do not want our children’s education to be compromised by the elimination of professional educators.”
The website and Facebook page ask readers to sign the petition and demand that Superintendent Rick Mills and the School Board of Manatee County develop a better solution to its financial problems.
The petition can be found online at www.change.org/petitions/school-board-of-manatee-county-teacher-eliminations-are-not-an-option-for-our-children.
Riley-love says she has more than 26 pages of names on the petition, which she hopes to present to Mills at the Soup With the Supe: Food for Thought luncheon hosted by Mills Wednesday, May 29.
Mills plans to speak on “Building Leadership Capacity.” Using the school district as an example, Mills said in a statement he plans to discuss how building leadership capacity is an essential element for organizations to succeed and flourish. In addition, Mills said he will engage in a question and answer session with guests at the event.
Editor’s note: Karen Riley-Love is a frequent contributor of event photographs and school news to the Islander.