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KCSD budget calendar addresses ‘critical issues’

Posted: January 24, 2014 5:10 p.m.
Updated: January 27, 2014 5:00 a.m.

A recent presentation of the Kershaw County School District’s (KCSD) Fiscal Year 2014-15 budget development calendar addresses several “critical issues,” according to KCSD Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan.

Morgan presented an overview of those issues and the development calendar at the Kershaw County Board of School Trustees’ Jan. 21 meeting.

“First, there’s obviously that new revenue will not match salary mandates and needs,” Morgan warned the board. “We will have a mandated salary increase for teachers. It’s an election year and in an election year there’s always a higher than normal salary mandate for teachers. That’s part of the political process.”

Morgan said a question that would have to be answered is if the teacher salary increase is mandated, would the district give the same salary increase to other employees.

“We will not get the funding for that from the state; we’ll only get funding for teacher’s salary increase,” he said.

Morgan reminded the board that the district’s budget was still $3 million below what it was in July 2008. Due to that deficiency, he said the district would not be able to “restore everything we’ve cut” since 2008.

With this in mind, Morgan said it is important to consider “priority restorations and initiatives” and how  the district can reallocate existing resources to meet priorities. He also suggested trustees look at how to spend from the district’s general and special revenues funds differently, if need be.

“I know I keep harping on this, but our Base Student Cost (BSC) is still $700 below the legal requirement. We’ve done that by proviso for the last several years,” Morgan said.

He mentioned that if the BSC was at the correct amount, the district would be able to reinstate all the programs the district cut since 2008.

The final issue Morgan pointed out as being critical in the budget process were proposals from both Gov. Nikki Haley and the state legislature. Though decisions about the governor’s proposals are “far from being finalized at this point,” Morgan said there is a stated interest in obtaining reading and literacy coaches for schools.

“The good news is we’re not cutting,” he said. “A few years ago we were sitting here figuring out how to cut … but we’re not going to have as much to restore all the things we want to restore and also to handle all the salary mandates for teachers and the salary needs for other employees,” Morgan said.

Morgan then presented the following budget development timeline to the board:

December

• Meet with principals and program managers to discuss needs and priorities.

January/February

• Develop preliminary revenue projections (including fund balance projections that could be used).

• Finalize enrollment projections.

• Identify legislative advocacy positions related to the budget.

• Develop a draft budget based on current staffing standards and programs.

• Establish possible reduction areas.

• Establish revenue assumptions.

• Discuss the budget with the board and continue discussions with administrators.

• Begin legislative advocacy.

• Schedule public budget meetings.

• Meet with Kershaw County Council about a millage request.

March

• Finalize the draft budget based on updated information.

• Present the draft budget to the board.

• Have the board discuss the draft budget.

• Begin public and other stakeholder meetings on the budget.

• Continue legislative advocacy and discussion with Kershaw County Council about district millage.

April

• Update the draft budget based on more recent revenue projections, including the millage request to county council and public feedback.

• Continue legislative advocacy and discussion with council about the millage.

• Begin public and other stakeholder meetings on the budget.

May/June

• Continue to update draft budget based on new information, as needed.

• Hold a required public hearing on the budget.

• Adopt a the FY 2014-15 operating budget.

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