Charleston Co. school superintendent says district faces worst budget year ever

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston County School Superintendent Dr. Nancy McGinley says this year is the worst budget year ever as the district faces a budget shortfall of $28 million.

Right now, school officials are working out different ideas to come up with the money.

"We are looking at ways to bring revenue into the district," Dr. McGinley said."We usually rely on taxes and public funding. But as we go forward, that is not going to be anywhere near the level people have come to expect."

Dr. McGinley says in order to run the schools, the district is going to have to be creative, innovative and entrepreneurial. Steps already taken was to cut administrative salaries including Dr. McGinley's.

"I have cut my salary. When it comes to cuts we are starting at the top," Dr. McGinley said. "The board has already approved a 6 percent salary reduction for all top administrators. So I'm taking a 6 percent salary cut this year. We absolutely believe that's where we have to start."

School officials say they expect to eliminate 60 to 70 administrative positions. Dr. McGinley says that by the summer when the budget is finally approved, close to 100 administrative jobs will be eliminated. In addition, hundreds of teacher's jobs are in limbo, especially first-year teachers and those who have not taught in the Charleston County School District during the year.

When asked if teacher's jobs will be cut this year, Dr. McGinley said,"We hope not. Over the last four years we have hired close to 400 new teachers per year."

"Even though the new teachers will not get their contracts signed until all the continuing contract positions are filled, we expect that we will bring at least 50 percent of the new teachers back and maybe even more," Dr. McGinley said.

As school officials look to find alternative ways to get revenue into schools, Dr. McGinley says that cuts are more likely given the economic climate of the state.

"The only way we won't have to cut is if the state comes through with additional revenue. Right now it's not looking good," Dr. McGinley said."The state has a projected $700 million shortfall. That combined with the federal stimulus dollars going away, we're looking at operating on a much smaller budget next year and probably the following year."

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