DD2 searches for funding to fill $1.26 million shortfall

DD2 searches for funding to fill $1.26 million shortfall

DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Dorchester District 2 needs $1.6 million dollars to fill its budget shortfall in order to fill 30 new teacher positions.

DD2 leaders proposed a property tax increase to make up that shortfall, that was denied Monday night by the Dorchester County Council.

"We want to see what the state does with their funding before we make a decision prematurely," Dorchester County Council Chairperson Jay Byars said. "Quite honestly we're hoping Columbia will send additional dollars so that way we know what we have to work with, so we have to see what their budget is going to be and that money can flow down and then we'll figure out what we're going to do," Byars said.

DD2 had proposed those living in the district make up the million-dollar shortfall by having a 6.5 mil tax increase.

That tax increase would have come from vehicle property and business tax.

The Dorchester County Council meeting was filled Monday evening with DD2 teachers, all asking for more money to help the district.

"Those kids deserve it and they need us," DuBose Middle School teacher Beth Fiorito said.

Fiorito teaches sixth and seventh grades, and said her classrooms are around 30 kids, and it's not getting any smaller.

"The perfect classroom for middle school would be 24, six groups of four would be great but I don't see where that's going to happen any time soon if we don't get the money," Fiorito said.

DD2 School Board Chair Gale Hughes said the district needs money to keep up with the growing demand of students moving to the area.

"We grow about 500 plus students a year and for the last several we've not received any kind of increase and you know when we're growing, the money has to come from somewhere," Hughes said.

Dorchester County Council will give a third reading to the DD2 budget on June 5.
In order for them to approve DD2's tax increase there has to be an approved amendment before then.

Byars said by then the district should know if more funding could come in from the state.

"Hopefully we get some state based funding out of Columbia. That will help with that because otherwise we'll have to make up all of the difference and we want to be able to take care of our community and our businesses and not to over tax them but we do believe in education we're gonna have to pay for education and take care of our teachers," Byar said.

The final reading will be held at the next Dorchester County Council meeting on June 5.

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