Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Anderson trustees will discuss finances, construction tonight

Anderson District 5 has elected to use the additional school funds approved by the General Assembly last month -- funds vetoed by Governor Nikki Haley, but rescued by lawmakers who voted to override her vetoes -- to award step increases to most school district employees. The funding amounted to an extra $92 per student, bringing the total per-pupil appropriation up from an earlier $1,788 to $1,880 -- not an extravagant sum, and still well below the per-pupil expenditure required under the Education Finance Act of 1977.

Tonight, the Anderson trustees will consider other budget priorities:

The board on Tuesday will also consider out-of-district tuition and teacher supply funds. Superintendent Betty Bagley said the board will need to approve giving the teacher supply money to the teachers.

Last year, Bagley said, the district withheld teacher supply money in case it was needed to cover budget needs, but eventually returned the money to teachers when delinquent tax collections came in higher than anticipated. The approval of supply money is a formality, Bagley said, but has to be OK’d to ensure teachers get their money.

The amount they get, however, will be lower this year. The state Department of Education has estimated the amount will be closer to $250 per teacher this year instead of the $275 allocated last year.

The district will also discuss construction projects, Bagley said.

The district is in the midst of a $140 million building project that will create two new middle schools — the schools are on schedule to open in time for this school year. Another project, a new elementary school, is scheduled to open for the 2012-2013 school year.

The bond issue for the construction also includes renovating and refurbishing nearly every school in the district.

And because the building project is under budget, school officials have added renovation of the district office’s board room to the list of construction projects. The board will discuss recommendations to update the board room, Bagley said.

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