Berkeley Co. School board approves $328 million budget for 2021-22 year

Published: Jun. 22, 2021 at 10:02 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 22, 2021 at 11:49 PM EDT
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BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - The Berkeley County School board approved a $328 million general fund budget for fiscal year 2021-2022 during Tuesday night’s board meeting.

The budget is a $14 million increase from the year before, and district leaders say that is in part because of an increase in local tax revenue.

The district also has to fund a series of pay increases.

“The [increase] is also attributed to funding for our 2% increase in pay for district employees, and the district’s part in the step increase,” BCSD Public Information Officer Katie Tanner said. “The state does provide some funding and then the district has to provide their part of the step increase, and then we also discussed additional allocations that will be in the budget this year.”

The 2% raise for all district employees will cost the district roughly $4.5 million, and the step increases for qualifying employees will cost $7 million.

During a budget public hearing, some people expressed concerns about the pay raises, since the district is anticipating a $7 million deficit.

“The children need to be your focus, not the teachers getting raises and bonuses. I am here to go on record to say that you are severely misguided in your budget decisions and lack of foresight. You are failing miserably and forgetting where your priorities should lie,” former board member Ann Conder said during the meeting.

As a response to concerns, school board member Kelly Marone said the raise is needed to attract and retain teachers.

“To be able to offer our children talented teachers, quality staff, and to educate our children in a face-to-face environment in which we have seen is critical, I will say yes the raises benefit our children,” Marone said.

The district is also hoping to fill several positions both at a district and school level.

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