Horry County school board passed a proposal Monday night to increase class size in all grade levels by .5 in the earliest stages of budget planning, but the issue likely will be revisited before it is final.
The proposal was part of an update from John Gardner, executive director of accounting services for Horry County Schools. He told the board that at this time, it does not look good for new revenue from the state, and expenditures are expected to increase by $2 million to $2.4 million, leaving the district to make up $8.1 million.
Increasing class size would be one measure to help make up that amount by $2.8 million, along with utilizing $3.8 million from the district’s fund balance and the addition of $0.5 million expected in additional state revenue, Gardner said. Another $1 million still would be needed, but Gardner said it is early in the process and changes are likely.
The board also welcomed some new faces and swore in its latest members.
Vice Chairman Joe DeFeo was sworn in as the new board chairman, as Will Garland stepped down from the post after a decade in office. New to the board are Janice Morreale, who will represent District 5, and Jeffrey Garland, who was elected for District 11, while voters returned Kay Loftus, John Poston and David Cox to Districts 4, 8 and 9, respectively. Neil James, District 10, was elected as vice chair.
With DeFeo’s election as board chairman, there remains a vacancy for the District 3 seat, which represents portions of Carolina Forest and Myrtle Beach. Applications are being accepted to fill the unexpired term, and the closing date is Jan. 22. After an interview process, the board is expected to appoint a representative Feb. 11 and swear in that member Feb. 25.