UNION COUNTY — The Union County School District balanced its 2018-2019 budget without a tax increase while also giving teachers a raise, covering state-mandated costs, funding a new School Resource Officer, and allocating funds for capital improvements.
In its June meeting on Monday, the Union County Board of School Trustees voted 7-1 with Trustee Frank M. Hart opposed and Trustee BJ McMorris absent to approve the 2018-2019 budget.
District Finance Director Lynn Lawson said that the budget totals $30,020,269, a 2.5 percent increase over the current 2017-2018 budget. Lawson said the increase is “primarily driven by state mandated salaries and benefits increases including a one percent increase in teacher salary scales; a one percent increase in employer match for retirement benefits; and a seven percent increase in employer health premiums. All this accounts for the majority of the overall increase in the budget.”
Lawson added that the increase in teacher salaries includes not only the increase mandated by the state, but is also is driven by the district’s decision to add a 24th step to the scales that determine what teachers and other certified employees are paid. He said the state scale has only 23 steps but that local school districts are allowed to add additional ones.
The increase in the new budget over the current one is also due to the addition of funding ($65,000) for a School Resource Officer at Jonesville Elementary/Middle School.
It is also driven by the allocation of $500,000 for capital and facility improvements. The allocation is part of the district’s ongoing 5-year capital improvements program.
Even with the increase in expenditures the new budget does not include an increase in the school district’s operating millage which remains at 124.9 mills.
“It’s balanced without a tax increase but increases salaries for staff, covers state mandated costs, and pays for an SRO and capital improvements,” Lawson said. “It’s a balanced budget that accomplishes a lot.”
In other business, the board voted unanimously to approve the following administrative changes at the following schools for the 2018-2019 school year:
Buffalo Elementary School
• Jarrett Pendergrass — new Assistant Principal (former director of Adult Education) replacing Jason Koepke (going to FPES as principal).
Foster Park Elementary School
• Jason Koepke — new principal (former assistant principal at BES).
• Dr. Fran Adams — new assistant principal (from Georgia) replacing Dr. Erica Murdaugh.
Sims Middle School
• Dr. Latunya Means — new principal (from Cherokee County) replacing Eric Childers.
• Rocky Cooper — new assistant principal (former PE teacher) replacing Amber Comer.
• Jennifer Stepp — new administrative assistant.
• Andrew Ormand — business teacher/coach.
Union County High School
• Ken Ellis — new assistant principal (former instructional coach) replacing Dennis Cooper.
• Renee Rogers — new instructional coach (former English teacher) replacing Ken Ellis.
There are no administrative changes at Monarch Elementary School and Jonesville Elementary/Middle School for the 2018-2019 school year.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.