SDPC budget approved with raises

COUNTY — The board of trustees of the School District of Pickens County recently approved the final reading and passage of the fiscal year 2012-2013 general fund budget at approximately $98.9 million, which includes a 2 percent pay increase for employees.
Based on the Senate version of the FY 2013 state appropriations bill, the base student cost is projected at $2,012.
There has not been a final resolution among the state legislature and general assembly, so it is possible that changes in the state which might impact the SDPC would require the board to amend the 2012-2013 budget despite its passage.
The FY 2012-2013 budget also does not include an increase in taxes — one thing that has been consistent in the SDPC since 2003.
Included in the budget are a 4.6 percent healthcare increase, 1.07 percent increase for employer’s share of retirement, 9.45 percent property insurance increase on the new buildings and a workers compensation increase of 11.07 percent.
A 2 percent increase on the state minimum pay schedule for certified employees was factored into the budget, in addition to one step increase for certified employees up to 24 years of experience, a 2 percent increase for all classified employees and a 2 percent increase for bus drivers.
To answer a need in consideration of the new buildings, nine full-time positions were added for operations. These include four grounds crew and one HVAC, one plumber, one electrician, one carpenter and one custodian.
In the SDPC’s efforts to increaes the graduation rate to 80 percent in Pickens County within the next five years, other full-time employees have been added and will be paid for through the use of special revenue funds.
These positions include 2.5 4K teachers and 2.5 4K assistants, four graduation coaches, eight elementary teachers for transition classes and one reading recovery teacher. $1,000 per school has been allocated to the media centers for the purchase of books and an additional allocation to the schools has also been made to purchase math materials.
According to new SDPC superintendent Dr. Kelly Pew, every effort was made to prepare a conservative budget with a focus that emphasizes the classroom.