County School Board Reviews Budgets

By Betsy Finklea
The Dillon County Board of Education reviewed budgets at their last meeting.
Some budgets had to be revised for presentation due to the change in the school funding formula.

Dillon District One
(Lake View)
District One’s budget uses a base student cost of $1,630.  The total revenue is $6,310,731, and the total expenditures are $6,500,494, showing a deficit of $189,763.  According to the presentation made by Superintendent Stephen Laird, “The revenue and expenditure figures take into account the reduction in retirees salaries to 80%, the elimination of the assistant superintendent position, elimination of the SES coordinator position, elimination of the parenting coordinator, and a reduction of one kindergarten aide.  A 10.3% increase in insurance costs has been included beginning in January.  A five day furlough of 190 day employees and ten days for administrators will save approximately an additional $94,000.  This reduced the deficit to $95,743. At this time the state salary schedule is the same as last year and does include a step increase for teachers with less than 22 years experience.  This step increase is included in the budget.  No step increase for noncertified personnel is included in the budget.  The middle school has been made a Title One school and the district will flex technical assistance funds in order to efficiently utilize the funds.”
Laird said he did not want to cut positions at this point in the year.
District One has $330,000 in their fund balance and are “still in a pretty fair position.” County board member Carl Altman pointed out that if Lake View had not had to give up $100,000 due to the change in the school funding formula that they would have broken even.
County Board Chairman Richard Schafer said mid-year they may have to do alternate funding, like Tax Anticipation Notes, because the county board will not be able to take up the slack for Lake View and the ATEC.

Dillon District Two
The Dillon District Two budget was presented by District Two Finance Director Art McMillan.
The budget highlights include:
– “An overall budget decrease of 11.09% ($1,992,236), from $17,956,868 in fiscal year 2009-2010 to $15,964,542 for fiscal year 2010-2011.”
– “A 10.3% increase in the employer share of health insurance.”
– “There was no change in the classified employee salary schedule.  Employees with less than twenty-two years experience will receive a step increase.”
– “There was no change in the Teacher Salary Schedule.  Teachers with less than twenty-two years experience will receive a step increase ranging from 1.04 to 2.29 percent.”
– “A ten day furlough for twelve month employees.  All other employees will be furloughed for five days.”
– “A projected Education Finance Act Base Student Cost of $1,630.  The original Base Student Cost for 2009-2010 was $2,034.”
The total revenue for all sources is $16,279,488.  McMillan said the biggest drop is in personnel costs, down $1,886,000 from last year.  McMillan said they expect a balanced budget without using any fund balance.

Dillon District Three (Latta)
Superintendent Dr. John Kirby said Latta also used a base student cost of $1,630.  Due to the change in the school formula, it was estimated that Latta would lose about $300,000.
Kirby said the Latta board took this amount from their reserve money until they get updated figures.  He said an influx of federal stimulus money helped the Latta district.  Kirby said some items they deleted included the elementary incentive budget, the Latta Bucks program, and $10,000 in travel.  He said they did not elminate the instructional supplies at the school level, and they pay all student and athletic insurance.

Director Jerry Strickland said his budget was the same as presented in June.  Strickland said his funds did not change.  Strickland said they took furlough days, but there were no lost positions.

County Board
Business Manager Doug Broome presented the county board’s budget.  The total budget is $545,117.56.

Other Business
In other business:
– Attendance Supervisor Lisa Bethea reported that she had 25 students under a school attendance order.  Bethea said she met with the Sheriff’s Office, and they plan to do a truancy sweep once or twice a month.
– The board learned that ATEC is working with NETC to provide some adult classes.
– Board member Jimmy Sweat moved and Altman seconded a motion that the Board counsel be directed to prepare a memorandum to District Superintendents and District Board Chairs advising of an obligation to give written notice to the County Board of Education that (1) identifies and explains all bonus and/or benefit programs under consideration that entails expenditures or school funds, and (2) no such programs are to be adopted without County Board approval.