Posted: Monday, June 6, 2022

GCS Board Approves FY 23 General Fund Budget

The Greenville County Schools Board of Trustees approved the proposed FY 23 General Fund Budget by a 9-1 vote following a public hearing and the budget’s second and final reading Monday night. Michelle Goodwin-Calwile, Derek Lewis, Roger D. Meek, Glenda Morrison-Fair, Angie Mosley, Chuck Saylors, Carolyn Styles, Pat Sudduth and Lisa Wells voted to approve the motion. Sarah Dulin voted against the motion to approve. Lynda Leventis-Wells was absent due to a previous commitment, and Debi Bush was absent due to illness.

The FY 23 budget is balanced, as required by policy, and reflects revenue and expenditures totaling $789,524,000. The budget is based on the Senate’s current version of the State Budget, which has not yet been finalized and includes a new public education funding model from the state.

A major focus of the budget is to increase starting salaries and salaries for existing employees both to address inflation and to help recruitment and retention efforts needed to ensure a viable workforce for the growing student population. To make that investment in teacher and employee salaries, the budget includes an increase of 4.5 mills, which is below the 5.7 mills that will lapse if not levied this year and significantly below the total taxing authority of 23.9 mills available to the Board this year.

As this year is a tax reassessment year for the County, the overall millage rate has decreased. Consequently, while the Greenville County Schools’ budget includes an increase of 4.5 mills, that increase is less than the amount the millage rate decreased, so generally, taxpayers overall will pay approximately 2% less for taxes related to school operations in FY 23 than they did in FY 22 on the same taxable property.

In South Carolina, school funding is set up to be a shared responsibility between the State and local taxpayers. However, under the current State law Act 388, taxes for school districts’ general funds are not levied on owner-occupied homes (primary residences). This results in the value of the operating mill being 43% less than the value of a mill that includes owner-occupied homes.

“This budget shows the commitment by both the Board of Trustees and the administration to invest in our teachers and other employees, which we know is one of the most important factors for student success. It is more critical now than ever before to show that education is a profession that is not only a worthy endeavor but also a career that is financially sustainable,” said Dr. W. Burke Royster, Superintendent of Greenville County Schools.

Expenditures – Notable new expenditures in the budget include:

  • $2,000 increase to every cell on the GCS teacher salary schedule, which results in entry-level teacher salaries starting at $44,566
  • A step increase for all teachers and adding a step for teachers at the top of the schedule
  • All other eligible employees receive a step. If the step is not valued at a minimum of 3%, it will be adjusted to equal a 3% pay increase. Employees not eligible for a step receive a 3% pay increase.
  • Minimum entry-level pay for all district jobs starting at $15.00/hour
  • Final step of a multi-step process to move bus driver salary schedule to two rates
  • Addressing the internal inequities of principal pay and external competitiveness of assistant principal pay
  • First step of a multi-step process to decrease the student to counselor ratio at the elementary level to 400:1
  • Personnel for growth to meet the estimated increase of 1,200 students next school year
  • Funding to meet the required employer costs related to healthcare and retirement for employees
  • Funding to further enhance school security measures
  • The expansion of the A.R.M.E.S. program

A complete list of new expenditures is available below:

Expenditures Due to State Mandates: The items shown below are mandated through legislation and total $22,137,000.

Teacher Salary Step

$5,902,000

Teacher Certificate Upgrades (i.e. bachelors to masters)

1,310,000

State Health Employer Contribution Increase

6,622,000

State Retirement Employee Contribution Rate Increase

6,592,000

Bus Driver State Mandated Increase

1,089,000

Langston Charter Formula Increase

622,000

Total

$22,137,000

Additional Expenditures: The following items totaling $45 million reflect priorities needed to meet local requirements of the Education Plan for FY 23.

Increases Associated with Student Growth

$3,679,000

Fountain Inn High School (Expansion to Include Grade 10)

1,747,000

Special Education Teachers 

827,000

Speech Language Therapists 

207,000

Occupational Therapists 

195,000

School Psychologists 

175,000

Induction and Mentoring for First-Year Teachers 

69,000

Greenville Alternative Teacher Education (GATE) Program 

260,000

Special Revenue Fund - Students at Risk of School Failure

7,471,000

Special Revenue Fund - Aid to Districts

2,109,000

Interpretation Services

60,000

West Greenville - Culinary Skills Sessions with Greenville Technical College

11,000

Mastery Connect Graphing Calculator Software Add-on

29,000

Field Trip Request Software

30,000

Google Suite

324,000

Career Center Certifications

20,000

Marching Band Uniform Allocation

50,000

Increase Band and Orchestra Instrument Allocation

50,000

Arts Reaching Middle and Elementary Schools (A.R.M.E.S.) Program Expansion

106,000

Digital Classroom Management

187,000

Teacher Observation Software

92,000

Increase for Instructional School Materials

142,000

Teacher Salary Schedule Increase

13,786,000

Add Step 34 to Teacher Salary Schedule

174,000

Non-Teacher Salary Schedules Step Movement - Minimum 3%

6,210,000

International Teacher Fees

268,000

Increase Homebound Rate to $30/hr.

56,000

Adjust Elementary Counselor Allocation

1,302,000

Bus Driver Compensation for Years of Experience

133,000

Adjustment to Bus Driver Schedule to Two Rates

897,000

Reclassify Computer Technicians

105,000

Increase Assistant Principal Scheduled Work Days

519,000

Adjust Principal Salary - Internal Equity

820,000

Adjustment to Support Schedules for Minimum $15/hr. Rate

1,326,000

Coaching Supplements

326,000

Recruiting for Virtual/Online and Hourly Workgroups

46,000

Upbeat Principal Engagement and Retention Survey Annual Cost

27,000

Cost Increases for Existing Service/Supply Contracts

714,000

Audio-Visual Technician 

92,000

Building Services Specialist 

99,000

Security Enhancements

700,000

Total

$45,440,000

Total Proposed Budget - $789,524,000


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