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Dorchester District 2 balances budget in spite of funding formula

Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 7:13 PM EDT
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DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Dorchester School District 2 representatives presented a balanced budget to the Dorchester County Council on Monday, and while their budget is growing by about $9.1 million the district listed several critical needs that will go unfunded.

Those needs include a resource officer at two North Charleston schools, salary adjustments for transportation staff and an increase to substitute teacher pay.

The budget will also not include the district’s goal of getting guidance counselors back into the elementary schools.

For the most part, however, staffing and services will remain similar to last year.

Despite receiving one of the lowest allocations per-student of any district in the state, the district was still able to balance its budget. The district is asking county leaders to lobby lawmakers in Columbia to advocate for change to the funding formula that prevents districts from collecting property tax on homes to be used in its general fund.

The district’s $225 million budget benefitted from more than $43 million from federal COVID relief packages and they got a nice boost of around $6.4 million in local property tax money from an increase in property value.

“I am anticipating over the next several years not a 1 percent growth, but a 3 to 5 percent growth in property taxes,” said Dorchester County Council Member Todd Friddle. “I think this is going to help us a lot on budgeting purposes.”

District leaders are closely watching enrollment data.

Right now, they are projecting only 85 percent of their students will return. That equates to about $3.6 million.

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