Berkeley Co. School’s budget includes higher salaries for employees

Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 7:59 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 30, 2022 at 8:59 PM EDT
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MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCSC) - All employees under Berkeley County School District will receive a 4% or higher salary increase under the newly approved 2022-2023 budget.

BCSD has projected a $369 million budget for the next fiscal year. This budget includes pay increases higher than 4% for custodians, instructional assistants, bus drivers and bus assistants. Classroom teachers will receive a 4% salary increase and an additional $1,000 in ESSER-fund.

BCSD Board Chair David Barrow says he believes the district is being fiscally responsible.

“This is a no-tax-increase budget,” Barrow said. “Berkeley County School District has not raised millage in six years. Two years ago, in fact, Berkeley County School Boards reduced millage by 12 mills. So, we are a very fiscally responsible school board.”

Ashley Smith, BCSD Chief Financial Officer, says the district is expecting an increase in tax revenue and state funding from conference committee projections.

“I think the raise comes at a good time,” Mahwish McIntosh, an English teacher at Cane Bay High School, said. “We also have to be mindful of the fact that it can’t just be a one-time thing and that we have to continue to be more and more competitive considering, not just the education industry here, but all the other industries that are coming to this area and that are trying to take some of our educators and support staff to other industries because of the pay and because of the benefits.”

McIntosh also emphasizes that she is happy with how hard the school board has been working towards this budget. She says she knows how hard of a task it must be.

“I think that Berkeley County is making sure it’s being competitive while also being fiscally conservative, considering those taxpayer dollars very seriously,” McIntosh said. “I’m proud to see that this school board and so I’m proud to see that this school board with all of this discussion was able to come to an agreement.”

Barrow says he is committed to retaining the best employees for all positions while staying competitive with other school districts.

“I’m very optimistic about this, and the people that won the budget are the employees because they’re getting a pay raise and what we’re telling our people is that we value you,” Barrow said. “We don’t want you to go. We want you to stay here.”

Barrow also wants to emphasize that this is only an operational budget. This does not include capital improvements for renovations to current buildings and the construction of new schools. The district is working on including a one-cent sales tax on this year’s ballot for that and they need additional funding.

This budget was approved in a 5 to 4 vote.

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