HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The Horry County School Board is taking steps to get out of its budget deficit.
It was just a preliminary meeting on Monday, and no final decisions on where the money will be going will happen until June 5.
However, by the meeting’s end, it became likely that every single teacher will be getting a raise and maintenance and furniture needs will be taken care of.
The district is facing a $2.5 million deficit. In order to flatten that number out, they’re working on deciding which items on the budget to keep and which to cut.
The board went through each item on the list one by one. The first thing they voted on to keep was salary increases for all teachers. Chairman Joe Defeo believes this is something that will definitely pass during the final reading because it wasn’t done last year, and he says it’s time.
Another thing Defeo said it’s time to put more money towards is maintenance, especially with the addition of new schools.
“As you add schools, you add maintenance, you add problems,” Defeo said. “Small things break, people have to fix them. And I think the maintenance department has been strained over the years.”
The board made a motion Monday to add six more maintenance workers to the district, as well as new furniture and equipment where needed.
Defeo said another department that needs attention is the critical needs teachers.
On the original proposed budget was the suggestion of a signing bonus for those teachers.
While this does solve the problem of recruiting these teachers, Defeo said it doesn’t solve the problem of retaining them.
He added he worries that some might take the job simply for the bonus and then leave soon thereafter.
The board discussed a possible solution.
“The suggestion was $5,000 but spread it out $1,000 a year,” Defeo said. “You stay two years, fine, you keep your $2,000 and leave. But that retention, that incentive to stay for those 5 years, they say once you’re there for five or six years, you have a tendency to stay and make it your home.”
Defeo said the need for critical needs teachers is huge, but so is the need for them to stay at the schools for longer.
This, along with teacher salary increases and maintenance needs, will likely be paid for in the upcoming budget, according to Defeo.
The budget will be finalized at the June 5 meeting.
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