Tuesday brings board meeting and second reading of proposed 2018–2019 budget

May 14 2018

On Tuesday, May 15, 2018, at 7:30 p.m., the Lexington County School District One Board of Trustees will hold its regular monthly meeting. This meeting includes the second reading of the proposed 2018–2019 general fund operating budget that includes school safety initiatives.

District administrators call these safety initiatives “Project Hope” because they serve both the emotional and behavioral needs of students through the addition of a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst, who is trained to provide and supervise behavior, Applied Behavior Analysts, who use techniques and principles to bring about meaningful and positive change in student behavior, a Safety Coordinator, six School Resource Officers for elementary schools, two Social Workers, seven Mental Health Counselors and a 504 Coordinator.

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 which funds fixed assets such as facilities and equipment.

The budget, as it appears in the first reading, is merely a projection. The district has made preliminary projections for revenue based on historical data, the Senate version of the state budget, and preliminary local assessment projections from the county. 

In the first reading of the budget, Lexington One administrators recommended a 2018–2019 $280,315,582 general fund budget which consists of about 87.4 percent salaries and related costs, 7.8 percent for programs and services, and 4.8 percent for utilities and maintenance.

It maintains the current student to teacher ratio formula per classroom on average and includes:

91.1 new staff positions to accommodate growth and provide greater support for our students with the greatest needs;

80.1 certified (includes 15.53 targeted for special needs students and 10 positions targeted for early childhood intervention), 8.5 support staff, and  2.5 administrative staff;

a step increase for employees (about $3.4 million);

health and retirement increases (about $3 million);

a 2 percent salary increase for certified and support staff, and a 1 percent salary increase for administrative staff (about $3 million); 

funding to meet state and federal requirements;

an increase in accounts payable to cover inflationary increases in utilities, supplies, materials, property and casualty insurance premiums, and services (about $1.6 million);

an increase in the amount of money the district is paying for School Safety Officers in elementary schools;

transfers of allowable costs to capital funds;

the budgeting of $9 million from fund balance ($1.2 million more than last year); and 

a 4.45 mill increase (about $1.2 million) designated specifically for school safety initiatives.

The state allows districts to increase millage by the Act 388 formula (the percent of growth in school district population and the CPI). For 2018–2019, that formula would allow this district to increase millage by 14.27 mills. However, Lexington District One administrators are currently recommending a budget that includes only a 4.45 mill increase designated specifically for school safety initiatives.