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School board passes budget

Posted: July 1, 2011 3:02 p.m.
Updated: July 4, 2011 5:00 a.m.

With only six hours left in the 2010-11 fiscal year, the Kershaw County Board of School Trustees passed its 2011-12 budget during a special-called meeting Thursday evening.

The budget, which has a base student cost of $1,880, includes no furloughs for Kershaw County School District (KCSD) teachers and administrators and an addition of $33,317 to the school district’s reserve fund. Additionally, the equivalent of 6.4 clerical positions, as well as previously proposed reductions for an instructional assistant and Applied Technology Education Campus (ATEC) guidance time will be restored.

“There were major vetoes done by the governor and there were five major ones that affected education funding. The House overturned all five, the Senate overturned all but one,” said KCSD Chief Financial Officer Donnie Wilson, in reference to the budget that legislators presented to Gov. Nikki Haley last week. “And if we had to lose one, that’s the one we wanted to lose. It was regarding SAT Prep and it was $160,000 roughly for the entire state, so the amount that we would have gotten would have been relatively small.”

Additionally, Wilson told trustees that since their last board meeting, the state “had no choice but to basically allocate and send to districts around $75 million for IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) funds.”

Wilson said the decision was made to avoid the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars from the federal government for students with disabilities.

The KCSD will receive $1.1 million of a non-recurring $75 million worth of IDEA. IDEA funds cannot be used for any other purpose than special education.

“If you recall, we talked about the amount of increases that we would have to put into the general fund budget next year because of the loss of stabilization funds -- federal dollars that we knew would go away at the end of the year. That amount was $890,000…so we had to add that to the general fund budget,” Wilson said. “So when they came out last week and allocated this $1,126,000, what that allowed us to do was pull all of that $890,000 back out because now we have state funding that’s in special revenue that can take care of that. It also has carryover provisions, which means that if we don’t use it all we can carry it over to next year.”

By pulling the $890,000 out of the general fund budget and adding it to the $33,317 that was already designated for the general reserve fund in the 2011-12 budget, the school district could add nearly $924,000 to its reserve fund next year.

If everything goes as planned and the economy continues to improve, Wilson said, there is a very good chance the school district could maintain its $1,880 base student cost next year.

“But if it doesn’t continue to progress at the rate it has in the last year, then some portion of that increase will have to come out,” he said. “This gives us a buffer against (fiscal year) 2012-13, that’s why I have no hesitation of going the full $1,880 with the base student cost. The buffer is the new allocation that we got.”

Board members unanimously approved the budget. Trustees Nissary Wood and Kim DuRant were not present for the vote.

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