CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Charleston County School District Board of Trustees will have more time to review the proposed Fiscal Year 2024 budget.
On Monday, the board was scheduled to vote on the first reading of next year’s budget, but they decided to postpone the vote. They instead passed a motion to allow the district to operate using the current budget until next year’s is approved. This will include any state-mandated pay increases for staff that could come out of the current legislative session.
“I noticed there was an awful lot of information in here and a lot of information that is not in here that I consider what a budget should be,” said Trustee Keith Grybowski, referring to a hard copy of the proposed budget.
Board members said they received a copy of the budget book on Thursday May 18, and said they needed more time to review the plan.
“The numbers are just too high level for a new board to go into. I would have preferred a zero-base balance budget, starting from scratch,” said Darlene Roberson, a trustee.
Teachers have been following the budgeting process closely, as a salary increase is on the table.
“We don’t have a walk-out or a strike. We have teachers who are just leaving because they can no longer to afford live in their own communities,” said Patrick Martin, an English teacher at CCSD. He and several others spoke out during the public comment section of the meeting.
Earlier this month, the Audit and Finance Committee recommended the upcoming budget include a 7.1 mill increase and a $5,000 salary increase for teachers with up to 40 years of experience.
Board members made it clear on Monday their decision to postpone the budget vote does not mean they don’t support a bump in pay for teachers.
“There still are a lot of very important questions that haven’t been answered yet, so that’s why I’m supporting this motion,” said Trustee Leah Whatley.
In the meantime, the board asked district staff to prepare a proposal for their June 26 meeting that would give certified classroom teachers a one-time $5,000 bonus using ESSER III funds.