Proposed General Fund Operating Budget Fiscal Year 2020 (School Year 2019–2020)
Presented at the May 21, 2019 Lexington County School District One Board Meeting.
Last updated on 05-21-2019.
The 2019–2020 proposed general fund budget is $295,798,632 — up $15,237,156 (a 5.4% increase) over this year’s 2018–2019 general fund budget of $280,561,476. It consists of about 88 percent salaries and related costs, 7.5 percent for programs and services, and 4.5 percent for utilities and maintenance.
With this budget the district:
maintains its current student-to-teacher ratios per classroom on average.
continues to increase the district’s layered approach to the safety and well-being of students by providing at least a 0.5 trained School Resource Officer at every elementary school, as well as eight more mental health counselors across the district, with approximately a 0.5 mental health counselor at every school.
accomplishes its Drive to $35 goal of starting teacher pay at $35,000 and makes salaries across the district more competitive by including a step increase for all eligible employees at a cost of
opens Beechwood Middle School in the fall with 34.55 new positions.
adds 77.55 positions (including BMS) to accommodate growth and provide greater support for our students with the greatest needs (69.10 certified, 10.45 support staff, 1.00 school administrative staff, and a reduction of 3.00 Central Services administrative staff).
includes mandated health and retirement increases (about $2.1 million).
includes a 4 percent salary increase for certified staff (about $5.5 million).
includes funding to meet state and federal requirements.
incorporates an increase in accounts payable to cover inflationary increases in utilities, supplies, materials, property and casualty insurance premiums, and services (about $66,200).
transfers allowable costs to capital funds.
Factors influencing the proposed 2019–2020 general fund operating budget
South Carolina’s main funding mechanism for schools is the “Base Student Cost,” part of the Education Finance Act approved in 1977. This legislation was intended to provide each student with instruction that is appropriate for his or her level (primary, elementary, secondary, disability status). (Please note that the legislature has removed the “base student cost” terminology in the 2019–2020 funding proviso and replaced it with a new combined and slightly different funding formula called “State Aid to Classrooms.”)
In the proposal put forth in the House version of the bill for Fiscal Year 2020 (academic year 2019–2020), the proposed budget has an implied Base Student Cost of $2,467 per pupil, which is below the BSC funded for 2018–2019 of $2,480 and well below the S.C. Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office’s recommendation of $3,095 per pupil for Fiscal Year 2020. If fully funded for 2019–2020, the district would receive an additional $17.8 million. In fact, the last year that districts received the full recommended BSC was 2007–2008.
The proposed 2019–2020 general fund budget is short about $3.3 million (based on the House version).
The district needs to cover the costs of the following state mandates:
• 4% teacher salary increase costs of $5,549,383.
• certified teacher step increase costs of $2,498,696.
• state retirement and health insurance mandated increases of $2,055,619.
Growth impacts the budget. Just how fast is the district growing?
Lexington District One remains one of the state’s fastest-growing school districts — adding 4,770 5K–Grade 12 students over the past 10 years (2008–2009 to 2018–2019), an average growth of 477 new students each year. Currently, the district serves 26,929 students (actual students not average daily membership) from Prekindergarten through Grade 12.
Over the past 5 years (2013–2014 to 2018–2019), the district added 2,634 students, an average growth of 527 new students each year.
Over the last year, the district’s 5K–Grade 12 average daily membership grew from 25,511 on the 135th day of the 2017–2018 school year to 25,999, an increase of 488 students (1.9%) on the 135th day of this school year (2018–2019).
Administrators project a growth of 511 students (1.9%) for the upcoming 2019–2020 year as the district continues to see significant growth in new homes along with a corresponding influx of new students.
What does the general fund operating budget fund?
The district’s general fund operating budget provides funding for the day-to-day operations of the district such as paying salaries, insurance and utilities, and purchasing supplies, materials and services. This is not to be confused with the district’s capital budget that funds fixed assets such as facilities and equipment, major building projects, technology and renovation projects through bonds, etc.
Many things impact a school district’s general fund budget each year — student growth, student-to-teacher ratios, tax collection rates, property tax relief, changes in other revenue from state and federal government, program needs and mandates such as increases in the cost of district employee health insurance, retirement or other benefits.
The budget as proposed for second reading is based on the House version of the appropriation bill.