Budget hearings due April 18
by Larry Chowning
The Middlesex County School board voted unanimously Monday to approve a proposed $13,746,550 budget, which contains a 2% raise for teachers and all other contract employees. The new 2013-14 (FY14) budget takes effect on July 1.
The proposed budget calls for a $205,086 (1.51%) increase over the current FY13 budget. Over $100,000 of the increase involves capital improvements to make the three county schools safer, said school superintendent Dr. Thomas W. Taylor.
Dr. Taylor reported FY14 budget revenues reflect a 17.6% decrease in federal funds, which will result in $141,409 less federal aid to the schools. The federal government funded $802,101 in FY13 and is expected to fund only $660,692 in FY14. The school system also lost $20,085 in grant funds.
To make up for these loss revenues, the budget proposal requests a $173,370 (2.3%) increase in county funds for education. This increase equates to less than a penny increase on the county’s tax rate. Each penny of the county’s 46-cent real estate tax generates about $212,000.
There is an expected increase in state funding to the schools of $47,870 (1.39%). In FY13 the state provided $3,474,265, while $3,522,135 is expected to be provided in FY14.
The budget calls for a 2% pay increase for teachers and for all contract personnel. The state will provide some of the funding for the pay raises.
State funds for a locality are based on the locality’s Composite Index (CI). Middlesex has a high .7431 CI, which means that for every dollar spent on local education, the state provides about 25 cents and the county provides 75 cents. Middlesex County has a high CI primarily because of the county’s high real estate values.
Dr. Taylor informed the school board that two part-time positions will be eliminated at Middlesex High School along with one full-time teacher at Middlesex Elementary School in FY14. Also, compensation for substitute teachers and substitute aides has been reduced.
The school budget must be approved by the county supervisors, who will hold a public hearing on both proposed school and county budgets on Thursday, April 18, at 7 p.m. in the historic courthouse in Saluda.
Supervisors have tentatively agreed to consider approval of the budgets on April 25.