The O5 board accomplished this without tax increases and without furlough days for district employees, according to the Orangeburg Times and Democrat.
Why can't other districts do the same?
Trustees have also approved a resolution authorizing the district to issue a $3.1 million general obligation bond. These funds may be used for technology and to purchase a van to transport handicapped students.
The board also approved a $5 million tax anticipation note, or short-term loan. The TAN money will be available if it's needed to help the district meet expenses from September until December, when local taxes begin to come in.
Perhaps the O5 board feels additionally empowered to support Orangeburg's public schoolchildren because they have the vocal support of Orangeburg's mayor, Paul Miller.
Miller was honored earlier this month by the state School Boards Association with that group's "Champions for Public Education Award" for his "unwavering support of students and staff in Orangeburg Consolidated School District Five." Miller's nomination came from the O5 school board.
According to the Times and Democrat,
For more than a decade, Miller has been one of the biggest supporters and friends of the district's students and staff.
As a member of the district's foundation board of directors, he works tirelessly to raise funds and support for a teacher grants program to fund innovative classroom projects that enhance teaching and learning.
In fact, he single-handedly solicited and obtained prizes, including a 50-inch, high-definition television, and a $10,000 donation for the foundation's recent fundraiser.
In addition to his foundation work, Miller's leadership has assisted the district to address several safety issues, including new sidewalks for students who walk to school and parent pickup and parking at several elementary schools.
Finally, the mayor's help this past year during the board's superintendent search was invaluable, including his assistance with focus groups to provide input, city tours and packets for the finalists. Miller was one of the first public officials to congratulate the chosen candidate.
"Through his interaction with the district's schools, students, board of trustees, administrators, teachers and staff, Mayor Miller has made a marked difference in public education," the board stated in its award application. "OCSD 5 is a much better place because of Mayor Paul Miller."