Teacher raises and a tax increase are proposed in the Lancaster County School District’s 2019-2020 budget.
Lancaster’s preliminary $124 million budget is 10.4% higher than in 2018-’19, according to the district.
A public hearing will be 5:30 p.m. June 25 at the school district office, 300 South Catawba Street.
A proposed tax increase would amount to $50 more a year on a $100,000 business, said Tony Walker, chief finance officer for the district.
Tax increases apply only to businesses, non-owner occupied homes and rental properties. Act 388, South Carolina’s property tax reform measure, replaced tax on primary homes with a one-time sales tax increase on retail purchases to support school operations. Act 388 has led to a loss of revenue for public schools.
Schools are not fully funded under state law. By law, the base student cost should be $3,095 for 2019-’20, The Herald previously reported. The state has set the base student cost at $2,487.
Lancaster also must budget for teacher raises.
South Carolina lawmakers gave final approval earlier this month to a $9.3 billion state budget that includes a 4% pay raise for teachers and sets the starting teacher salary at $35,000, The Herald previously reported. Gov. Henry McMaster still needs to sign the budget into law.
The Lancaster school district will receive about $2.5 million from the state to fund the mandatory teacher pay raise, Walker said. The district will need to spend $900,000 for a step salary increase for teachers.
Lancaster’s proposed budget is funded with about $78 million in state revenue and $43.6 million in local money, Walker said.