BERKELEY, S.C. (WCBD) – Explosive growth in the area is projecting revenues in Berkeley County to likely add $6 to $8 million to the District’s budget.
Members of the Berkeley County School Board Finance Committee voted to allocate the additional funding to support the School District’s teachers, students, and schools. The board approved certain recommendations on how the district should spend that money.
On Tuesday, the recommendations of the Finance Committee will be presented for full Board consideration during a regular meeting. The budget recommendations approved by the Finance Committee include:
Lowering second-grade class size from 25 students to 21 per teacher. Second grade is a pivotal year for reading comprehension and growth.
Increase every employee’s pay by 1-2%, in addition to the previously approved 4%, resulting in a total 5-6%.
Reduce the elementary resource teacher allocation from 33 students per teacher to 20 students per teacher.
Add 39 special education instructional assistants to support classroom learning in every self-contained special education classroom.
Provide a $100.00 match for every qualifying teacher to increase the teacher supply check to $375.00 (the state currently funds $275.00).
Increase critical school-level leadership positions (8 district-wide) for the program and special education support.
“Anytime you’re putting together a budget you’re going to have some limits and constraints,” Katie Tanner, Public Information Officer for the Berkeley County School District said. “So, getting the word that there was going to be some additional revenue this year was extremely exciting about what can we do with that revenue and how can we meet some more than needs for our schools.”
The Board also anticipates a significant tax millage rollback consistent with state law.
“Anytime that we can provide an additional pay increase we will,” Tanner said. “They recognize the challenges that we have right now. They know that we are having some difficulty state-wide, nation-wide in a teacher shortage. So, what do we need to do as a district to ensure that we are attracting the best people to work in Berkeley County so that we can best impact our students here in Berkeley County.”
Tuesday meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Berkeley County School District’s Education Building in Moncks Corner.