District administration will seek approval of a $151.2 million balanced budget at the June 26 school board meeting. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at Rawlinson Road Middle School and be streamed live on the district website.
The proposed budget is 2.74 percent more than the prior year and includes a blend of district and state mandated additions totaling $3.2 million. An additional $2.5 million will address local needs to support students and be more competitive with employee retention.
The proposed budget has been developed using a combination of the state-funded base student cost of $2,425 per student and a six mill increase in local tax collections. The state budget approved last week included an increase of $75 per student, but does not fully fund the base student cost which is written into state law. The legislature has only fully funded the base student cost by its own formula eight times in the past 40 years. If fully funded, the “base student cost” would be $2,984 and approximately add an additional $10 million to Rock Hill Schools’ coffers. As state and federal requirements and mandates increase without attached funding, the district’s proposed six mill increase helps to bridge the gap and meet the needs of our students.
Highlights of the proposed budget include:
- For the past eight years, the district’s most seasoned employees, including 30 teachers, have had their salaries reduced 15 percent, and the impact is felt each year as the district struggles to retain its most accomplished teachers. By eliminating the retiree salary reduction, the district believes it will be able to better retain employees. Rock Hill Schools is the only district in the county with this percentage of reduction.
- Four new teachers and converting two part-time occupational therapist positions to full-time because of state requirements
- Six new teachers to address high school student growth and course selection
- Four new positions to support students in the district’s growing language immersion and inquiry programs
- Implement year one of a three-year program to roll out recommendations of a salary study completed in 2017
- Step increase for eligible certified and non-certified employees
- 3.3% increase to employer health insurance premiums
- 2.5% increase to employer retirement contribution
- Projected increases to utility bills for water/sewer and electric/gas
Throughout May and June, the Rock Hill community has several opportunities to attend public budget preview meetings in-person or watch presentations on the district website. On-demand budget presentations can still be viewed at www.rock-hill.k12.sc.us.
In other news, Rosewood Elementary School principal Stephanie DiStasio has resigned her position to accept a position at the South Carolina Department of Education. With her departure and the recent promotion of assistant principal Damon Ward to director of Central Child Development Center, the district is now seeking to fill two vacancies at Rosewood.
Additionally, district administrative offices have temporarily relocated to the Flexible Learning Center, 1234 Flint Street Extension. For those familiar with Rock Hill Schools’ campuses, the temporary location is on the site of the former Castle Heights Middle School and Rock Hill Adult Education. The temporary district office will remain at Flexible Learning Center until moving into its new office at the intersection on Orange and Black streets in downtown Rock Hill.