Education

What does the school district’s $685 million budget look like?

The preliminary 2017-18 budget presented to the Horry County School Board on Monday includes funding for additional teachers and pay raises.

The proposed budget is $685 million, which is about $121 million less than last year’s because of a smaller capital improvements budget used for construction projects.

The operations budget, used to fund salaries, benefits and supplies, has grown by $18 million, up to $496 million.

About half of the budget is funded locally. The rest comes from state and federal revenue sources.

What’s new?

According to the proposed budget, additional costs include:

  • $4.9 million to open, supply and staff three new schools and provide additional staff for the projected 741 new students.
  • $617,000 for eight English teachers who teach non-native English speakers, bringing the district up to 68 ESOL teachers.
  • $5.1 million for a 2 percent pay increase for all regular employees, including teachers, bus drivers and principals. However, finance committee recommendations could mean a decrease in the amount and scope of pay raises.
  • $195,000 for 10 additional days for instructional development, though that number may change because the facilities committee is recommending seven days.

The budget also includes $130,000 for additional school resources officers, but that number may increase due to ongoing negotiations with Horry County over how much the district should pay for the officers.

The deficit

The projected deficit is $13.7 million, but the district plans to use $7 million of last year’s fund balance to help reduce the deficit, said John Gardner, chief financial officer.

An additional $6 million is still needed to balance out the budget, but Gardner said he’s not concerned, and said the money could come out of this year’s unassigned fund balance.

“My policy is always to budget revenues conservatively and expenditures aggressively to make sure that we address any issues as they come up throughout the year,” Gardner said.

The full board will still have to approve each expenditure in the budget by the end of June.

“The board is going to have the opportunity to look through it,” Gardner said. “They may accept all the items or they may take all of them off. There’s always the possibility that they could find additional resources to fund the budget.”

School board chair Joe DeFeo said the district doesn’t plan on raising taxes this year.

Christian Boschult, 843-626-0218, @TSN_Christian

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