Berkeley Co. Schools facing $12M shortfall

By Sheldon Dutes  bio | email | Twitter 

MONCKS CORNER, SC (WCSC) - The Berkeley County School District is scrambling to figure out ways to make ends meet because of an expected $12M shortfall for the upcoming academic school year.

"We're cutting to the bone. It's like cutting our arm off," said school board member Doug Cooper.

Here's a list of the projected budget cuts for the 2010-2011 school year and how much money will be saved.

Maintenance ($400,000)

Custodial Supplies ($1,000,000)

School District Supplies/Materials ($2,150,000)

Allocations ($6,110,000)

Salary STEP Freeze-Administrator ($302,000)

Salary STEP Freeze-Teachers ($2,000,000)

Rural School Mileage Reduction ($100,000)

Utilities ($300,000)

Total Savings ($12,362,000)

"We can make it through next year. It's going to be painful at the district level and at the school level, but it should not be painful for our students," Cooper said.

Although it will be a little more tight for the 2010-2011 school year, the outlook for the 2011-2012 school year is devastating because of a projected $25M budget deficit.

The Berkeley County School District is already bracing for those cuts.

"We could be looking at every class increasing 5-7 students across the district. No extra-curricular activities at all and a lot of other cuts, in addition to what we're doing," Cooper said.

Barbara Waters' daughter Lori is a sophomore at Stratford High School who's involved in the National Honor Society, the Marching Band, Chorus and Beta Club. Waters worries how the cuts could affect their family.

"This is a crisis. My daughter is going to be a senior the year they decide to make all these cutbacks. She's involved in many programs. If she can't be a part of those programs, it could adversely affect her chances for scholarships," Waters said.

During Tuesday's board meeting Superintendent Dr. Anthony Parker encouraged parents to contact state lawmakers to advocate for public education.

The 2010-2011 budget hasn't been finalized and district officials are still tweaking it. It's expected to be finished in late June.

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