Budget and millage priorities before Sumter school board

BY BRUCE MILLS
bruce@theitem.com
Posted 5/13/18

Next school year's budget again headlines the agenda for Sumter School District's Board of Trustees' upcoming meeting, set for Monday night at Chestnut Oaks Middle School, 1200 Oswego Road.

A district spokesperson distributed the agenda to the …

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Budget and millage priorities before Sumter school board

Posted

Next school year's budget again headlines the agenda for Sumter School District's Board of Trustees' upcoming meeting, set for Monday night at Chestnut Oaks Middle School, 1200 Oswego Road.

A district spokesperson distributed the agenda to the media late last week.

The meeting will serve as the official public hearing on the fiscal 2018-19 budget. During his financial report, district Chief Financial Officer Chris Griner will present the budget to the board, similar to what he did two weeks ago at an April 30 budget planning session.

Griner's budget proposal presents a balanced $131,609,396 general fund budget that doesn't include a 5.48-mill increase that the district also likely plans to ask Sumter County Council for on May 29. Included in the budget is locally funded step increases for all teachers and non-teachers. Other locally funded additional investments include increases in employer contribution for health insurance and salary schedule adjustments. There are also locally funded additional investments in student instruction and personnel and operational savings from the closing of two schools this summer (F.J. DeLaine Elementary and Mayewood Middle).

However, the $131.6 million budget includes about a $200,000 overall decrease in state funding because the district's enrollment is down about 300 students this school year. The proposal also keeps student-teacher ratios at 25-1 for elementary schools, 30-1 for middle schools and 31-1 for high schools. It would also not add any money to the district's fund balance next year after it's projected to be $6 million at the end of this fiscal year on June 30, 2018.

The 5.48-mill increase translates to $1,057,121 in additional revenue for the district that would mostly be generated from additional taxes on commercial businesses and industries in Sumter, according to Griner.

At Monday's meeting, the trustees are likely to provide input and determine the district's priorities for potential use of that additional county revenue. The administration's priority alternatives include adding six teaching positions as part of a process to inch down student-teacher ratios (valued at $480,000), making a $500,000 contribution to the district's fund balance, adding two information technology staff positions (valued at $130,000) or nine custodians (valued at $270,000), among others. The board cut several custodial positions last year as part of mid-year budget cuts after the district's fiscal 2016 audit report revealed it overspent by $6.2 million that year.

Like all board-related meetings, the meeting is open to the public. Public participation is also listed on the agenda. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m.

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: Sumter School District's Board of Trustees Meeting

WHEN: Monday, 6 p.m.

WHERE: Chestnut Oaks Middle School, 1200 Oswego Road