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District Finance Director Says State's New Funding Plan Could Hurt More Districts Than it Helps

Daniel Prince

Board approves multipurpose room renovation

Wrapping up our look at last week’s School Board meeting, new Finance Director Kelly Richardson stated that the governor’s proposed new funding plan for school districts will have a negative impact on many school districts in the state, despite the rhetoric that is touting increased funding. The new funding plan would fund classrooms based on a statewide average student-to-teacher ratio instead of on a per-pupil basis. 75% of the cost will come from the state, compared to 81% with the current formula. Starting pay for teachers would be bumped up to $40,000 a year. In addition to the added teacher pay, including mandated step increases, the state will be rolling up several at-risk funds. The bottom line if all goes as proposed? The Union County School District would see an additional $2,275,000 in revenue, but it would also see $2,800,000 in additional costs, putting a $500,000 burden on the district. Richardson noted that the governor’s office didn’t consult school districts, district finance teams, the school board association, or anyone else with a stake in school finances before coming out with the recommendation. She said most if not all districts are seeing a deficit through this plan and not a surplus. Many districts have written letters to their legislative delegation expressing their opposition to the proposal. Richardson said the next step now that the SC House has passed it will be to see what the Senate Finance Committee does with it next.
In other action, the board voted to approve the District Strategic Plan for the 2022-2023 year. The five-year plan was written and approved last year, and each year it will go through an updating process. Dr. Lacresha Byrd stated that very few updates were needed to the plan this year.

The board then voted 7-1, with Manning Jeter opposed, to approve the monthly personnel report. The board voted 6-2, with Mark Ivey and Manning Jeter opposed, to approve administrator contracts for the upcoming year. They voted 7-1, with Mark Ivey opposed, to approve teacher contracts for the upcoming year.

Dr. All then made a motion that the board approve the multipurpose room project that was discussed during executive session. The board voted unanimously to approve that. Superintendent Joey Haney explained that the project dealt with Room 600 in the Career and Technology Center, which is where the school board meets. Haney explained the room will be fixed up and made to be a nicer looking, more technologically friendly room for conferences, meetings, and other purposes, including school board meetings. He said little to no money would need to be spent on the project, but there would be some labor involved.

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