AME to lose teacher to low student enrollment

Six hatchlings, discovered Aug. 29 during a loggerhead nest excavation on the beach in Bradenton Beach, scamper to the Gulf of Mexico.
Turtle watch volunteer Lee Zerkel holds a loggerhead hatchling found Aug. 29 during a nest excavation on the beach in Bradenton Beach. The hatchling was one of seven remaining after the nest hatched.
Amy Manning of Bradenton compares the hatchling tattoo on her foot Aug. 29 with a live hatchling found during a nest excavation in Bradenton Beach. The hatchling was released to the Gulf.

Due to low enrollment for 2019-20, Anna Maria Elementary will lose a teacher.

The teacher with the least seniority will be expected to transfer unless another teacher comes forward to step down.

Meetings will be held and a decision will be made by Sept. 5.

“For over five years now our enrollment has been in the 200s, with 54% of those students either using school choice or a hardship to be able to attend school here,” principal Jackie Featherston said Aug. 28.

She said AME is the smallest elementary school in the Manatee County School District, with 222 students.

The number is not expected to grow.

Enrollment has decreased slowly, “as housing costs go up” and fewer families can afford to live on Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key, she said.

“I am told enrollment was in the low 400s before the school was rebuilt and we had many more families on the island,” said Featherston.

The loss of an AME teacher will be sad for staff and students, but also for such parents as Mauri Zaccagnino, who has third- and fourth-grade students at AME.

“One of the best things about AME are the small class sizes and consistent, excellent teachers,” said Zaccagnino. “I will be sorry to have to say goodbye to one of those teachers who has very likely impacted the lives of my children in a positive way.”

AME parent Jeff Canup. whose children are in first- and third-grade, offered a different perspective.

“Anna Maria Elementary’s decreased enrollment enhances its advantages as a small school where students develop close-knit relationships and the administration has the bandwidth to address student needs and parent concerns,” he said.

One thought on “AME to lose teacher to low student enrollment

  1. Janet Aubry

    I appreciated learning of Commissioner Whitmore’s support for taking a hard, honest look at the impact the DOT’s proposed future high bridges will have on Cortez and Anna Maria. The fact that nobody else on the commission felt they wanted to support her because they were afraid they might lose funding for other DOT projects is very telling. What it says to me is the commissioners prefer to throw us under the bus to save their chances of getting benefits for the rest of the county. I seriously doubt they have community members from here supporting them as they claim. The only time I heard about them talking to locals is to have meetings to discuss what mural to paint on the bridge. The topic should have been do we need or want big bridges and how would they answer the very relevant questions we ask again and again and for which they have no answers. I would never vote for those commissioners who did not step up for us when Commissioner Whitmore asked them too. And I congratulate her for being undaunted and continuing her quest without them. Welcome back to the fight Carol.


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