School District One adjusts proposed budget to Senate

By David Meade
During a budget work session held Tuesday, Superintendent Robbie Binnicker told the Anderson School District One Board that the Senate version of the State Budget looked better than the recent House version, however it will still leave the District’s budget with a shortfall.
“They did ok,” Binnicker said, “But it was not near what we needed to be balanced.” About eighty-two percent of the District One budget comes from the State.
This year the District will face a four percent salary increase for teachers mandated by the State. The State increase is for the minimum state salary, however School District One is already paying a minimum starting salary at 12 percent above the state minimum. Changes in the Base Student Cost are also leaving the District short on funding.
the BSC is at $2487 per student, which is slightly up from last year’s $2467. But, according to Binnicker, last year the state did not fund enough for what was needed, so the base amount funded went down.
The BSC is funded on the total enrollment on the 45th day of classes. School District One is at 10,000 students with expected growth of about 1.75 percent, or 100 students, each year. The District is expected to be at 10,289 enrollment for the upcoming year.
Binnicker said the State budget also includes money for SROs in every school in the state. But he said there is no criteria on how to get the money, and School District One already has provided funding for SROs in all fourteen District One schools.
“We may not get a dime,” he said.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kelly Pew presented information on  staffing for each school and the district overall. Districtwide they are looking at adding 20.5 employees including .5 assistant elementary principal, eight middle school teachers and .5 assistant middle principal, four special ed teachers and one psychologist and eight programmatic teachers.
The District is adding three additional Spanish Teachers, one at each high school, and one German Teacher to be shared among all three high schools.
The current budget is $75,072,271. The 2019-20 draft budget has anticipated revenue of $78,604,913 and anticipated expenditures of $79,396,547, leaving a deficit of $1,216,518.
Budget changes include $1.2 millions for growth positions; four percent mandated increase for Teachers; $120.000 for Teacher Certification Upgrades; four percent increase for support staff, $775,000; and mandated retirement (new rate of 21.61 percent), $470.000.
Operational increases include $123,000 for Utilities and $150,000 for in house custodial services.
Binnicker said the District has outsourced the service but was not pleased with the results and will bring it back in each school.
Binnicker said options to balance the budget include adding student growth (100 students) which brings an additional $203,191; increase for CPI and Growth, $727,085; leaving a deficit of $286,242 which could be covered by the fund balance or changes in the proposed budget.
Once the state budget is finalized, the District will finalize their budget, probably some time in May, according to Binnicker.
The District will hold a budget work session May 14 if needed. A public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday May 28 at 6 p.m. and final budget approval that same night during the regular District One Board meeting. The budget will be sent to the Anderson County School Board Monday, June 3 for final approval.