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Schools weighing $54M budget

First Posted: 6:27 am - June 3rd, 2015

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CHESTERFIELD — A second vote on the Chesterfield County School District’s $54.3 million proposed budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year is scheduled next Monday after school board members approved the budget’s first reading on May 11.

School system Chief Financial Officer Brad Willard said the two largest differences between fiscal years 2014-15 and 2015-16 relate to distribution of lottery funds and salary expenditure. Willard said the board is faced with automatic salary increases that amount to an unfunded mandate from state lawmakers.

“The state mandates that we increment one step, then we step up all teachers and certain categories within the district every year,” Willard said. “We do not have a choice on that and they do not supply complete funding to pay for it. Eighty-eight to 90 percent in any given year in our budget is salary and fringe (benefits).”

Willard said the state has also adjusted the way lottery funds are distributed, which means the school district will no longer be receiving a $294,000 payout from the South Carolina Education Lottery as of 2015-16.

“We will no longer be receiving the restricted lottery monies.,” he said. “It was determined that they would use the lottery money to be sent to districts in a different way. So we still get a piece of it, but it’s calculated differently. In essence it’s going to increase our general fund expenditure by about $300,000.”

Operating on a base student cost of $2,220, the proposed budget includes a $51,915,612 grand total of general fund revenue and $54,308,526 total of general fund expenditures.

The projected general fund balance is $1,335,777 as of June 3o.

The Chesterfield County School District is scheduled to vote on the budget’s second reading during its regular monthly meeting at 5:30 p.m. June 8 at the Palmetto Learning Center in Chesterfield.

Reach reporter Randy Garner at 843-537-5261 and follow him on Twitter @CherawChronicle.

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