A tax increase, budget cuts and a jump in the county's millage value made up the Lancaster County School District's $1.3 million shortfall and allowed the district to add teacher and staff raises to the 2008-'09 budget.
The $78 million budget was approved by the school board on June 17 and will give teachers a 3.85 percent pay increase. Other staff will receive a 2 percent pay increase.
The board approved a five-mill tax increase that will generate approximately $600,000. The millage increase will not affect primary residences but would affect all other property, including cars and boats. On a vehicle valued at $20,000, the increase will be $6.
The mill value, which is generated by the assessed value of property in the county and the anticipated property tax revenues, increased this year, Lancaster County School District Finance Director Walker said. It gave the district approximately $1 million in additional revenue for its budget.
When the district's budget was originally presented to the school board in May, the school district was facing a $1.3 million shortfall. The board bridged the budget gap by not filling vacant positions and by cutting approximately 10 percent of the school allocation budgets. School allocation budgets fund each school individually to allow schools to create their own local budget. It typically includes items such as travel expenses and instructional materials.
No pay increases were included in the original budget, but were added after the county assessor's office calculated the new millage value and it came in higher than expected.
Classroom sizes in some parts of the district are expected to increase because of the vacant positions the district will not fill. But in Indian Land, enrollment has increased to the extent that new teachers are still needed.
Approximately six new teachers will be hired for Indian Land schools, Walker said.
The district office's budget allocations were also cut by 10 percent.
"We'll look at that mid-year and if we can, we'll give that back," Walker said. "So far, we've never had to hold onto that and I don't think we will this year."