District One anticipating six new teaching positions

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By David Meade

During a work session Tuesday following their regular meeting, the Anderson School District One Board heard a preliminary budget report reflecting the need for 6.5 fulltime employees and 1.4 additional support staff. At present, the budget also reflects the highest teacher to pupil ratio in the upstate at 23.5 to 1.

Even with the high ratio, District One achievement results have remained near the top in the state, according to Associate Superintendent David Havird.

Havird said the additional teacher and support staff hiring reflects the K4 programs including three Title 1 schools and a new afternoon class at Wren Elementary which will require two professional staff and two support staff.

Havird said the District is expecting the largest 5K class ever, at 734 students, which will result in the need for 3.5 fulltime employees. Havird said they are expecting the middle schools to remain stable. Palmetto High is expected to increase from 970 students to 1026 while Wren High is expected to lose 100 students bringing them to about 1151. Powdersville High is expected to increase enrollment from 498 to 731, he said.

Though the budget could change depending on final funding from the state, Havird told the Board that it is based on the District receiving an additional $360,000 based on the funding and the number of students that are expected to enroll.

Under the House budget, the Base Student Cost is increasing from $2,012 to $2,101.

Havird said that personnel is eighty-five percent of the school budget with the rest being utilities, maintenance and other expenditures.

Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler said the budget is based on the House version of the State Budget which reflects an increase in the base student cost which he said will help pay about half of a mandated step increase for teachers.

Mandated salary increases for the District are estimated to be $1,374, 166.

At present, the preliminary budget has no additional revenue which comes with new students, and no increase for Consumer Price Index (CPI) and growth, according to Dr. Fowler.

The District can ask taxpayers for a 2.07 percent CPI increase and a .76 percent for growth which will be a total increase of 2.83 percent.

The District currently operates on 128.5 mills for operations Fowler said.

Based on the formula which is set by the state, the District could increase taxes by 3.6 mills to meet their budget needs. The increase would be on businesses and rental properties. Owner occupied homes are exempted by Act 388 which was passed several years ago to give homeowners a tax rollback.

Dr. Fowler said the increase would amount to about $300,000.

The Board will continue looking at budget expenses and changes over the next two months before finalizing the 2013-14 School Budget in June.