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Teacher step increases suspended

Posted: June 23, 2011 5:22 p.m.
Updated: June 24, 2011 5:00 a.m.

With no official word on the state budget before Tuesday’s Kershaw County Board of School Trustees meeting, school board members were still unable to pass the school district’s 2011-12 fiscal year budget.

However, the board voted to suspend teacher step increases during the upcoming school year as well as utilize teacher supply funding to preserve two teacher positions within the Kershaw County School District (KCSD).

The suspension of all teacher step increases, in addition to the suspension of the step increases of all other employees, was included in the board’s original proposed 2011-12 budget. On May 23, Gov. Nikki Haley signed a resolution allowing school districts to suspend teacher step increases during the upcoming fiscal year without negatively affecting their experience credit.

Regarding the $275 teacher supply money that has been provided to teachers in the past, the board will allocate $100 in funds to teachers while using the remaining $175 to fund two teaching positions.

“I don’t like it, but we’re going to have to chip our way out of this hole and I think that if we can do away with all of the furloughs, that’s way ahead of where we thought we would be right now,” said Chairman Joey Dorton. “I think we just have to slowly climb out.”

Trustee Shirley Halley also added that whatever teachers are given they will be appreciative, because many teachers often spend more than what they’ve been allocated.

“If we give them $200, they’re going to spend $300, $400 or $500 anyway because they’re going to get what’s needed for the classroom that’s not being provided,” she said. “As long as something is given, I think teachers are going to go out and be creative and get what is needed for these classrooms. Plus, they have all of these organizations that give back to the schools, too.”

On Wednesday, the state legislature approved a $6 billion budget plan, which included the conference committee’s base student cost of $1,880 -- a base student cost that KCSD Chief Financial Officer Donnie Wilson said would add a little more than $33,000 to the district reserve fund, and would still not require any furloughs or reductions that were discussed in the previously proposed budget.

Because the legislators passed the budget after the school board’s Tuesday meeting, the board is expected to vote on its budget during a special-called meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday in the school district office, 1301 DuBose Court, Camden.

In other news, the board unanimously voted to enter into annual grounds maintenance contracts with Nelson Mowing Service and Weedwackers Lawn Service for the 2011-12 school year. The services, which include $25,200 for the North Central area, $24,984 for the Camden area and $32,850 for the Lugoff area, will be paid out of the school district’s general fund.

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