Fort Mill Times

Fort Mill School Board approved $97.5 million budget

The Fort Mill School Board recognized members of the Keep Our Schools Strong (KOSS) Bond Referendum Committee during its meeting June 2.
The Fort Mill School Board recognized members of the Keep Our Schools Strong (KOSS) Bond Referendum Committee during its meeting June 2. AMANDA HARRIS

The Fort Mill School Board approved a $97.5 million budget during its regular meeting June 2.

The budget, an increase of $5.4 million from 2014-15, includes a raise in salaries, technology support and 22.5 new teachers, said Leanne Lordo, assistant superintendent of finance and operations. The Fort Mill School District is preparing for growth, including the continued expansion of Fort Mill and Nation Ford high schools.

The budget also factors in a $2,220 base student cost, increased from last year, and a projected increase in new students, Lordo said. The board will spend about $7,164 per pupil, which falls below the state average. The district also included a 6-mill increase, the most allowed, in the budget. Commercial and investment property owners are assessed the school operating tax. Owner-occupied single-family homes are not taxed.

Included in the budget for fiscal year 2015-16 is $1.8 million transferred from the contingency fund.

As of April 30, the district’s expenditures for FY 2014-2015 totaled $69.6 million and revenue was $76.9 million. Impact fees totaled $117.5 million. Lordo said the district is running tighter this year compared to last year at this time – the district had $73.5 million in revenue and $62.6 million in expenditures in April 2014.

The district gained 16 students in May.

Construction ahead of schedule

The Nation Ford High School expansion may be completed ahead of schedule, said Jim Britton, district consultant with Cumming Corp., a Fort Mill-based construction management company. The Fort Mill High School expansion is moving toward an Aug. 3 completion.

A $226 million bond package, approved by voters in May, includes a fifth middle school, completion of Fort Mill and Gold Hill Middle School gym expansions, the second phase of upgrades to the Fort Mill High School stadium and a third high school, Britton said. A training and support center, an aquatics center and land acquisition are also listed.

Recognition

Dedication to reducing energy use has paid off for the Fort Mill School District, which was named the 2015 recipient of the Association of South Carolina Energy Managers Energy Project of the Year Award, which recognizes use of energy-saving technologies, said Mike Robbins, building and grounds supervisor for the district.

He said the district has reduced its energy consumption by at least 20 percent each year.

“We try to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money,” he said.

Past winners of the award, which goes to one entity a year, include Clemson University, Winthrop University and the Greenville School District.

“We’re up there with the elite,” Robbins said. “It shows we’re doing the right thing.”

The monthly attendance award went to Doby’s Bridge Elementary School with 96.7 percent attendance.

Also at that meeting, the school board recognized the Keep Our Schools Strong school bond committee for its successful campaign, and school district personnel who retired at the end of this school year.

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