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School district balances budget

Officials within the Colleton County School District have balanced the district’s incoming budget for the 2017-2018 school year. The budget of approximately $43.5 million includes a salary step increase for eligible certified staff members. It also includes a 1-percent retirement increase, as mandated by the state, and a 3-percent health insurance increase.
Last year’s operating budget came in at about $42.3 million.
Local expenditures in the budget include an increase in pay to substitute teachers; a one-step salary increase for eligible staff; incentives for bus drivers; an increase in district maintenance contracts.
The financial incentives for bus drivers will be based on the years of experience. For instance, school bus drivers on average in South Carolina who have no experience make $7.75 per hour. Colleton County School District is currently paying those same drivers, with no experience, $10 per hour. The proposed budget would take the figure to $13.50 per hour for drivers with no experience.
Drivers who have up to 24 hours of experience would have adjusted hourly pay to match that experience level. For example, the proposed school district budget states that a bus driver with five years of experience would make $14.33 per hour in Colleton County: currently, that same driver is receiving $11.07 per hour.
The pay would max out at $17.50 per hour for drivers who have 24 years of experience or more, as based on a projected pay scale presented by district officials.
The biggest expenses in the district right now are salaries. According to a copy of the proposed final budget, all salaries in the district are projected to cost about $26.56 million.

This includes all personnel ( including district officials).
This year, the Colleton County School District is also spending an additional $675,000 on school resource officers. This is an increase of $25,000 over the cost of SRO’s in last year’s fiscal year budget.
To help save money, district finance leaders “realigned” staff to match student enrollment. The district’s salaries and fringe costs were also reallocated, according to a copy of the proposed district budget.
Lastly, the budget is operating on a base student cost of $2,425 per student. This is funded through the S.C. Department of Education and its fiscal year budget, as determined by the state legislature.
The final approval of the budget is expected to come at the upcoming June 27th meeting of the Colleton County School Board. A public notice will be published prior to this meeting.


Heather Walters (1341 Posts)