AME to get new principal for start of new school year

Changes made by the Manatee County School District will bring a new principal to Anna Maria Elementary School for the 2014-15 school year, and all schools are under a targeted spending freeze.

Three-year AME principal David Marshall will be replaced by Jackie Featherston, current principal at Stewart Elementary in Bradenton. Marshall will become principal at Gene Witt Elementary, 200 Rye Road E., Bradenton.

“It’s the natural course of things,” Marshall said. “There were a lot of retirements this year.”

Throughout the county, eight principals are transferring and seven schools are accepting applications for new principals.

“Witt is a great school, just like Anna Maria. It’s an A school, there are great things in place and, similar to Anna Maria, it has good teachers and parent involvement,” Marshall said.

He also said he looks forward to the change and to enhancing Gene Witt.

“I think that’s the same thing you do when you go to any school,” he said. “We brought some great things here, battle of the books, the mother-son social and the father-daughter dance.”

Also, Don Hall, deputy superintendent of the district, announced a targeted spending freeze in a memo to principals and department heads April 25. The spending freeze is in effect until June 30.

The district has been struggling to recover from an overspending shortfall totaling millions of dollars.

“As Superintendent (Rick) Mills shared with you last week, we have had some major successes, even within a financially difficult period. However, he also shared that we would have to look at some additional measures to improve our final closing balance. As he further shared, we have the unknown costs of the state and federal audit findings pending, and we are still awaiting news of final disposition,” Hall wrote in the memo.

Marshall explained that every school has budgeted funds and internal funds. The budgeted funds are targeted for the freeze — items such as teacher supplies.

“Anna Maria is in great shape. We had such a small budget and we use internal funds, which are not frozen,” he said. “It’s one of the benefits of being a small school.”

Internal funds are the result of fundraisers for field trips and other events around the school, Marshall said.

“Fortunately, it’s May and most of our teachers have already purchased their supplies,” he added.

Exemptions to the spending freeze can be requested in order to support life, health and safety of students and staff.

In additional to internal funds, all state and federal grants, categorical funds, operational supplies, tools and equipment for the maintenance and operations, custodial, transportation and vehicle maintenance departments are exempt from the freeze.

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