SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – The Dorchester School District 2 school board approved the 2019-2020 school year budget on Monday night after the district faced another tough budgeting year.
While the district did not receive all of the funding officials had hoped for, the following will now be funded as additional expenditures in the upcoming school year:
- Four percent salary increase for teachers plus step – costing $6.4 million
- Mandated one percent employer retirement increase – costing $1.2 million
- Increase beginning bus driver pay to $14 per hour – costing $300,000
- Five percent salary increase for all staff other than teachers – costing $2.1 million
- Four additional mental health counselors – costing $80,000
- Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase for Dorchester County school resource officers – costing $16,960
- Funding for an additional school resource officer at Givhans Alternative Program – costing $67,000
- Increase in cost of property & liability insurance – costing $160,000
In total, additional expenditures for the district will cost approximately $10.5 million.
The school district projects to receive, and spend, about $213 million in revenues in the 2019-2020 year. About $183 million will be spent on salaries and benefits. Over $30 million will be spent on “all other expenditures” according to information provided to News 2 by the school district.
The starting teacher salary in DD2, for a teacher with a bachelor degree, will be $38,340. In May, school board members stated that they wanted to increase the minimum teacher salary to $40,000 per year to stay competitive with neighboring districts. Officials said on Wednesday that that was not possible after it received its final revenue numbers from the state and Dorchester County.
District spokesperson Pat Raynor said the district will be able to maintain current class sizes for the upcoming school year. The school board was previously seeking to hire an additional 20 teachers to decrease class sizes.
Officials said in May that the school district was facing a nearly $8 million deficit. Superintendent Joseph Pye said that the district has been “abused for years” because it has not been getting enough funding from the state or the county.
“We are in a major funding crisis,” said Justin Farnsworth, DD2 School Board Member. “2nd from the bottom in funding for the state of South Carolina… we’re just trying to get the bare bones stuff to educate our kids to the best ability that we can.”
On June 17, Dorchester County Council approved an additional $3.5 million for the school district through both both a 7.8 mil tax increase and additional revenues.