It’s been two years since anyone in the Williamsburg County School District saw a pay increase so the passing of the 2012-2013 budget will be received with open arms. The current budget reflects at least a two percent salary increase for all district employees, plus a step increase for teachers. In addition, the budget does not include a millage increase or furlough days.
The budget, which was approved during the Williamsburg County Board of Trustees June 25, meeting was based on anticipated state funds and built on 2012 base student cost of $2,012 per student. At first reading, the budget reflected a $1.5 million deficit.
At second reading the budget was between $600,000 and $700,000 short. According to Chief Finance Director Christine Greene, there is a possibility the budget will be revisited if they have to go back to the current base student cost of $1,880. “If that is the case, we will have to come back to the board.” Williamsburg County School District Superintendent Yvonne Jefferson-Barnes noted at one time the district was dealing with a very different budget. “In 2010 we had a deficit of over $2.6 million,” said Barnes. “It meant significant sacrifices in order to keep the system moving and providing appropriate services to our students.” The district approved a balanced budget by July 1.
The district did receive some previously unanticipated funds in delinquent taxes. The majority of the $689,420 is from Performance Fabrics. Greene said the tax funds and the amount of savings that present administration has initiated would reflect a much-needed surplus in the budget. “We’re taking that surplus to balance the budget for next year,” said Greene, adding. “Whatever else we have in surplus will be the result of the district not spending and monitoring.”
One issue that will not be addressed in the next fiscal budget is the pay period. It seems the extended gap between checks has caused a financial burden on some. “Some of us live from paycheck to paycheck, which is bad, but that’s on our part,” said a district employee. “We were told to hold on and that’s what we did.” The reason, according to Greene is timing. “This district would need to have a fund balance of at least $5 million. We don’t have that,” said Greene. “Especially from September to December, we would have problems trying to make a payroll on the 15th of each one of these months.”