WINNSBORO — Fairfield County School District’s Board of Trustees approved the second reading of the FY 2014-2015 budget in the amount of $35,548,351 by a vote of 4-2 Tuesday.
School Board members Annie McDaniel and Paula Hartman were the two votes against the budget approval. Andrea Harrison was not present.
There were no changes to the budget that was approved in a first reading on April 8. McDaniel and Hartman voted against the budget in that meeting as well. Harrison abstained.
Overall, revenue is expected to increase by about $1.2 million from last year. The increase is primarily due to the increase in the tax property base.
The millage rate will not increase, with the rate sustaining at 203.1 mills.
Expenditures are increasing primarily due to increased salaries and benefits, according Kevin Robinson, finance director for the Fairfield County School District.
“The reason for that is that we are proposing a step increase and slight increase in salary scale for teachers and non-teaching personnel,” Robinson explained. “There will also be increases in benefit costs for health insurance by about 5 percent and retirement by about 1 percent.”
McDaniel and Hartman expressed concern that the millage rate for debt service has not been identified. However, Superintendent J.R. Green explained that the millage rate for debt service is not the district’s responsibility.
“Part of the reason we cannot tell you definitively what it will be is because the county has not yet set that,” he explained. “That is not something we do as a district and we don’t necessarily know what the accessed values are.”
Green added that it is not likely the values would be higher than they were during FY 2013-2014.
Robinson identified that the debt service millage accessed value is different from the operational accessed value.
“We don’t issue millage on residential properties,” he told McDaniel. “The operational millage has a date of June 15. We’ve always in the past historically given the county a number for the debt millage around August or September. We’ve never given them a number in June. The number they have to have in June is for the operational millage.”
After inquiring about the debt service both McDaniel and Hartman were called out of order by board chair Beth Reid.
Reid cited that the conversation about debt service was not related to the operational budget.
“We’re off topic from operational,” Reid said.
The highlights of the FY 2014-15 proposed budget are as follows:
• Overall proposed revenue will increase by approximately $1.2 million in comparison with last year’s budget
• There is an anticipated increase in local revenue of $1.1 million due to an increase in the tax base
• There is no proposed increase in the millage which is currently 203.1 mills
• Expenditures are increasing primarily in the area of salaries and benefits
• The increase is approximately $1 million.
• Salary increases for FY 2014-2015 are based on the step increase and salary scale increase for teachers and non-teaching personnel
• There will be additional instructional personnel in the budget.
• The District’s cost for health insurance is estimated to increase by 5 percent and retirement by 1 percent
The budget still has to go through a third and final reading before being approved officially as the FY 2014-2015 budget.