The Rock Hill school district approved its 2017-18 $151.2 million budget with a tax increase.
The school board approved the balanced budget during the June 26 business meeting. The budget will go into effect July 1.
The increase will amount to $36 more in taxes each year on a $100,000 business, non-owner occupied home or rental property, said Mychal Frost, district spokesperson.
The tax increase will not affect homeowners due to Act 388, South Carolina’s property tax reform measure, which replaced a tax levy on primary residences with a one-cent sales tax increase on most retail purchases to pay for school operations. Act 388 left many school districts short on revenue, resulting in spending cuts.
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“This is a burden on business owners more than anyone else, especially small business owners,” said board member Terry Hutchinson.
The budget includes the state-funded $2,425 per student and the tax increase, according to the district. The state is not fully funding the base student cost as outlined in state law. If fully funded, the base student cost would be $2,984 and would bring an additional $10 million to the Rock Hill district.
Unless something changes with state funding, the trend may continue, said board chair Jim Vining.
“We are concerned about the impact on businesses and we regret that,” he said. “If everything stays the same, it will be very difficult for us to balance the budget even with a maximum tax increase.”
For eight years, the Rock Hill school district has reduced salaries of retired employees by 15 percent. This budget eliminates that reduction.
“The impact is felt each year as the district struggles to retain its most accomplished teachers,” according to a statement posted to the district’s Facebook page. “By eliminating the retiree salary reduction, the district believes it will be able to better retain employees.”
Rock Hill schools is the only district that reduces retired employees’ salaries by 15 percent. The budget also includes a salary step increase for eligible employees.
Other highlights include:
▪ Four new teachers and the conversion of two part-time occupational therapist positions to full time.
▪ Six new teachers to address growth and course selection in high schools.
▪ Four new positions for the language immersion and inquiry programs.
▪ Increases to employer health insurance premiums and employer retirement contribution.
▪ Increases in utility costs.
The Clover School District Board of Trustees on Monday night approved its $79.9M operating budget for the 2017-18 school year.
This is a $2.2 million, or 2.9 percent, increase over last year’s, which includes the operating tax increase, said Bryan Dillon, district spokesperson.
The budget allows for 28 new positions, mostly for staffing needs opening the new Ninth Grade Academy, as well as an increase in utilities spending, the release states.
The budget also accounts for population growth within the district, Dillon said.
The additional positions include:
▪ 22 certified teachers
▪ School resource officer
▪ Teacher for new Montessori program
▪ Six support positions
The increases in the operating tax rate falls on businesses, owners of second homes, automobiles and other non-owner occupied property. That tax does not fall on owner-occupied homes.
“There will be no increase or change in taxes for debt service, which are paid by both homeowners and businesses,” Dillon said.
Within the operating tax, businesses are assessed at a rate of 6 percent, which includes most retail businesses and the owners of two homes, the release says. Those business would pay an extra $36 for each $100,000 in assessed property value.
Manufacturing businesses, assessed at 10.5 percent, would pay $63 extra for each $100,000 in assessed property value.
Another budget change, the release states, is a decrease in spending for substitute teachers.
Dillon said a new contract with Source4Teachers saves money.
“We don’t anticipate less usage, but the package overall saves money while using the same set of substitute teachers,” he said.