Florence One schools look to increase budget


FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – Florence School District One is proposing a new budget for next school year that totals more than $147 million.

The increase from last year’s budget is around $5.9 million, but FSD1 Superintendent Dr. Randy Bridges said there are concerns about the budget cuts on a federal level.

FSD1’s school board knows there are limited dollars and Bridges believes a balanced budget will keep the district out of jeopardy.

“We know that health and dental insurance is going up, that’s a nonnegotiable,” he said. “We know that retirement is going up, that’s nonnegotiable. So those are two big pieces in the additional dollars we will receive.”

Those non-negotiables are $3.5 million right off the top, according to Bridges. Then there is a proposed increase in salary for all teachers, staff and administration, which is around $1.4 million.

“So you can see that 5.9 is dwindling down pretty quickly,” Bridges said. “It’s not enough – I know that right off the top of the bat – but it’s a way of saying you know, we do value what you do for the organization and most importantly what you do for our kids.”

The superintendent believes that value is not stated enough.

“Any small amount of increase in terms of their salary is just a small way of saying how much we appreciate what you do for us,” Bridges said. “I like the approach we are taking this year in that it simply touches all of our employees, if the board actually approves it.”

Other items on the table include the maintenance department, new staffing at McLaurin Elementary, who is starting a Montessori program and technology infrastructure.

“We are continuously trying to work on some of our older facilities and getting them up to speed and there are just enough dollars there to do it, but again we chip away at it and put more money aside to address some of those needs,” Bridges said.

He added that his board members are just as passionate about FSD1.

“I’m sure there is never total agreement on what we spend these dollars on, but they seem to come together around the good things,” Bridges said.

A public hearing will take place next Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Poynter Adult Education building, followed by another budget work session at the district office.

The budget may have final approval on June 8.

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