Posted: Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Board Approves FY 18 General Fund Budget

Earlier tonight, in a meeting at the J. Floyd Hall Administrative Center, the Greenville County Schools Board of Trustees voted to approve the administration’s proposed FY 18 General Fund Budget. The administration’s recommended budget is based on the Senate version of the budget; the State budget should be finalized later this week.  Based on these preliminary numbers, projected revenue for next year is $596,618,000.  Points of interest:

  • The proposed budget is balanced, as required by Board Policy.
  • School funding is set up to be a shared responsibility.  Because of our Index of Taxpaying Ability Greenville County taxpayers are expected to provide approximately 30% of school funding. The proposed budget is 34.5% local, 65% state and .5% Transfer-In.
  • There used to be an automatic annual change in local millage to meet “maintenance of local effort.”  Since Act 388, the State uses population growth and the Consumer Price Index to provide an allowable millage change each year, but it requires a vote of the school board.  This year, that formula recommends a 3.9 mill increase in order to maintain the current educational program. The budget as approved includes a 2.3 mill increase.
  • Act 388 allows boards to levy any unused millage going back three years.  Existing carryover millage in GCS totals 8.5, bringing to 12.4 the total mills the GCS Board of Trustees is allowed by law to levy this year.
  • Considering the projected growth in student population for FY 18, the total projected budget equates to a cost of approximately $32 per day, per student, for the 245 days in which the District operates each year. 
  • The state-mandated teacher step increase does not provide a raise to teachers at the top of the salary scale or to anyone not on the teacher salary scale.  The approved 3% across the board cost of living increase raises all non-teacher salary cells and supplements by 3% and provides a 3% increase to teachers at the top of the scale.  It also ensures that all teachers not at the top of the salary scale receive a salary step equal to at least 3%.  Without a salary increase, employees would see a reduction in salary, due to the State-mandated employee retirement contribution increase of .34% and an inflation rate of 2.2% from March 2016 to March 2017.
  • In the FY 16 General Fund Budget, Greenville County Schools “caught up” all teachers on the salary step program, but throughout the District many non-teaching employees are several years behind on step increases; for example, there are those who would be on Step 11, but are on Step 6. This budget does not address those missing steps.
  • State mandates in this budget total approximately $14.7 million.  General Fund State revenue is increasing by $7.1 million.

Projected Revenue – State Funding:  Based on the Senate version of the State Budget, the Base Student Cost (BSC) will increase from $2,350 in FY 17 to $2,435 in FY 18.  This is an increase of $85.  Any increase to school funding is appreciated, but FY 18 marks the 10th consecutive year the BSC has been funded below the FY 08 level. Because of our District’s Index of Taxpaying Ability (ITA), if the budgeted BSC remains at $2,350, we will receive a BSC of $1,768. Based on the EFA Formula approved as part of the Education Finance Act, the BSC should be $2,984. The FY 18 General Fund Budget projects state revenue totaling $372,999,000.

Projected Revenue – Local Funding: Current local tax millage for the General Fund is 137.4.  Per Act 388, no taxes are collected on owner-occupied homes to support the General Fund budget, but additional millage can be levied on other property (businesses, rental property, cars, motorcycles, etc.) using a formula built to meet inflation and population growth.  Of the 12.4 mills available to the Board this year, 1.3 mills are left over from FY 15 and will lapse if not levied this year. The approved FY 18 General Fund Budget projects local revenue of $205,830,000, including a 2.3 mill increase.

State mandates are: 1) Legal requirements resulting from legislative acts that impose an enforceable duty, a new program, or demand an increased level of service in an existing program, 2) Mandates from the State Department of Education, or 3) State-required increases to existing locally approved programs.

Expenditures: The following expenditure items are included in the FY 18 General Fund Budget.  Of this total, about $14.7 million is due to required State-mandated items.

 

State Mandates

 

Mandated Teacher Salary Step

$4,328,000

Teacher Certificate Upgrades

700,000

State Health and Dental Employer Contribution Increase (Effective 1-1-17)

211,000

State Health Employer Contribution Rate Increase of 3.3% (Effective 1-1-18)

925,000

State Retirement Employer Contribution Rate Increase of 2.0% (Effective 7-1-17)

8,397,000

Payments to Charter Schools (Langston only – per State formula)

135,000

Local Priorities

 

Increases Associated with Student Growth (projected growth of 850 students) – this includes teachers, school administrators, support staff, instructional materials, etc.

4,750,000

Guidance Counselor for Satellite Diploma Program (1.0 FTE) - assist with college and career planning and help with transition services

73,000

Special Education Teachers to Shorten Bus Routes (5.0 FTE) – increase the number of special ed. Students whose IEP can be implemented at their home-based school

339,000

Special Education Services:  Psychologist and Therapists – speech and occupational (3.0 FTE)

230,000

Special Education Compliance and Instructional Specialists (3.0 FTE) in response to USDE revision to accountability system (results vs. compliance)

270,000

Increase to Baseline Flex Allocation for Site-Based Academic Support

1,422,000

District-Wide Student Assessment System – immediate targeted feedback to improve instruction – bank from which to pull in-depth test questions

801,000

STAR Academy Program (2.0 FTE) – move STAR to 19 middle schools

135,000

Band and Strings Instrument Maintenance Budget

150,000

Instructional Coaches Additional Days (10 days) – work on data, instructional planning, training, etc.

336,000

Administrative Assistants at Small Elementary Schools Additional Days (10 days) – Administrative Responsibilities

45,000

Technology Funds for Personalized Learning to Offset Special Revenue Reductions – Reduction in Special Revenue funds would slow implementation of the personalized learning plan

1,431,000

Increase in Local Portion of the Teacher Salary Schedule  - keep margin between us and state minimum

5,302,000

In-service Days for Induction Teachers (3 days) – additional training for first year teachers

209,000

Cost of Living Increase for Support Salary Schedules (3%) – for everyone not on teacher schedule and for teachers at the top of their schedule

4,197,000

Benefits Specialist (1.0 FTE) – process retirees, new hires, status changes, etc.

49,000

Employment Specialist (1.0 FTE) – focus on substitute hiring and all Extended Day, adjunct, and temporary hourly positions (i.e. tutoring, ticket takers, etc.)

73,000

Employee Relations Representative (1.0 FTE) – Resolve concerns and conflicts, mediate disputes, facilitate team building, oversee employee background checks, investigate unemployment claims, etc.

129,000

Bus Supervisors (2.0 FTE) – Reduce the ratio of drivers to supervisors to 36:1 plus aides (112 total), increase supervisors from 9 to 11 bringing us more in line with industry standards

145,000

School- and District-Level Staff Development – fund additional and on-going staff development at both the school and district levels

135,000

Academic and Athletic Supplements – increase strings supplement; add swimming asst. coach, cheer asst. coach, asst. track coach

180,000

HR Hourly Personnel for Peak – i.e. clearing candidates in early spring prior to baselines being issued, additional clerical support and personnel to conduct orientation sessions during summer hiring peak

140,000

Transfer to General Fund of Personnel from State Special Revenue Fund – reduction in EIA ($ for $) Aid to Districts

1,030,000

Increase to Pay for Off-Duty Zone Patrol Officers – competitive off duty pay

167,000

Criminal Background Checks for District Volunteers (1.0 FTE) – Cost of one employee to manage process plus the actual background checks

266,000

Increase Supply Funding for Building Services/Maintenance/Grounds – inflation

174,000

Middle School Extracurricular Transportation – help schools meet extra-curricular program costs

24,000

Student Activity Transportation – maintenance and repair of activity buses

50,000

Total Increase to Expenditures

$36,948,000

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