After Rock Hill school board member Jim Vining received questions about how the school district plans to deal with another cut in state money, he posted his answers on his blog, Education News for the Rock Hill Community.
Less than a month into the school year, shortfalls in tax revenue caused the state to trim what it spends on schools by 4 percent.
For Rock Hill schools, that means nearly $2 million less than the $128.7 million officials planned to spend this year.
The district already started the year roughly $2.3 million short. Officials planned to dip into a $19 million reserve fund to cover that.
Now with an additional $1.9 million shortfall, school board members are wary of draining the “rainy day savings” account that took more than a decade to build.
At a meeting earlier this month, the school board discussed three ways of dealing with the latest cut:
- Require employees to take unpaid leave. A new state law set to expire at the end of this school year allows schools to enact employee furloughs to save money. Teachers can be out only on days when students don't have school, and administrators must take leave for twice as many days as teachers. For every set of furlough days — one for teachers and two for others — Rock Hill schools would save $400,000. There are five days left in the school year when students would be off while teachers work.
- Tap the reserve fund. That would bring the district's savings down to roughly $14.8 million.
- A combination of furloughs and reserves.
The board is expected to vote on what to do during a meeting on Sept. 28.
Meantime, school officials are fielding questions.
Here's one of the questions and answers Vining posted:
Q: When administrators are moved out of their current positions do they go back to the lower salaries or do they keep the higher salaries? Why to whatever the answer is? It seems obvious to me that even if they stay at the same salary level the cost of the teacher or principal is saved but this is apparently not obvious to some people.
A: I think the important issue is that a position was eliminated and I hope we treet the employee fairly. Salary is not a motivator, but can be a demotivator, and the eliminated position is where the savings are. The short answer is I do not know what happens to the salary.