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School District Budget Increases by 8.25% Pending State Legislature Action

Daniel Prince

Bids accepted for new district website, roof construction, and deck replacement

At Monday’s school board meeting, Finance Director Kelly Richardson presented the proposed budget for the 2022-2023 school year for first reading. Some of the specifics of the budget are still awaiting the state legislature coming together in conference committee to iron out differences between the House and Senate versions of their budgets. The SC House budget included up to $4000 to increase starting teacher pay to $40,000, while the Senate version included up to $2000 to increase the base pay for starting teachers. There is a new funding formula for schools in play, as well. Richardson said she based the budget on the Senate’s version of the budget, and after the conference committee meets, the board can amend the district budget if changes are needed due to changes in the final state budget. The conference committee was to have its first meeting yesterday, but legislators won’t come to vote on the budget and other matters until June 15, which is two days after the board’s scheduled June meeting to hold second reading on the budget.

Richardson said the budget comes in at $34,676,634, an 8.25% increase over this past year. State retirement will be going up by 1%, health insurance is going up 18%, and personnel costs will be increasing with a hike in bus driver pay, the additional money for starting teachers, step increases for teachers, and a 2% increase in other pay scales. In addition, three new positions are added to the budget—two are kindergarten aides for Foster Park and Monarch and the third is for a receptionist at Jonesville Elementary-Middle School. Superintendent Joey Haney asked for permission from the board to go ahead and advertise for these positions to try and get a jump on the hiring process, rather than waiting until after the final reading is held on the budget next month. The board unanimously approved the request.

Richardson said the board is allowed to raise taxes by up to 6 mills this year based on the CPI at 4.7%. The budget she presented did not reflect that, but the board can choose to do that if they wish, or they can go back next year and recoup the millage increase.

In her monthly budget update for this year, Richardson stated that the district is currently $5.2 million to the good with three months of payroll and expenses left, with $27 million in revenue and $21.8 million in expenditures. She said the district should end the current fiscal year with a surplus to go into the general fund balance.

Dr. Lacresha Byrd, Director of Instruction, presented the board with flyers for the district’s various summer camps, 11 in all. We’ll have specific information on those camps soon. For more information on them, contact your child’s school or the school district’s Office of Instruction.

Several motions came out of the board’s executive session discussions. The board unanimously voted to award the district’s website hosting and modification services to Apptegy at a cost of $12,200 a year and a one-time setup cost of $9200. The company will save important district data and have the website set up by July 1. Apptegy currently is the website provider for the Newberry County School District. The board unanimously awarded the bid for roof repairs at Monarch Elementary School to Pickens Roofing for $798,086. They also unanimously awarded the contract for roof repairs at Buffalo Elementary School to CE Bourne for $135,313. They awarded the bid for the wooden deck replacement at Foster Park Elementary School to RNF Construction for $149,940.

Before the meeting ended, board member Mike Massey asked that the district bring a formal proposal for a modified schedule for the 2023-2024 school year to the next board meeting for approval. He said he wanted parents to have as much time as possible to make preparations for childcare, vacations, and other arrangements, if indeed this is the direction the district wants to go.

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