Public meetings set to discuss proposed Beaufort County school budget

tbarton@beaufortgazette.comApril 17, 2013 

The Beaufort County Board of Education has scheduled two information sessions for the public to learn more about its $182.9 million budget proposed for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

The board will present its proposed spending plan from 6 to 8 p.m. today in the media center at Bluffton High School, 12 H.E. McCracken Circle, Bluffton.

Another budget presentation is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. April 24 in the media center at Battery Creek High School, 1 Blue Dolphin Drive, Beaufort.

District officials unveiled a preliminary budget April 2 before the school board's finance committee. It calls for 20 more teachers next school year to account for an unexpected increase of 420 students this school year.

Officials plan to spend $7.5 million more to hire the additional teachers -- at a cost of $1.3 million -- and pay for increased costs of operations and state mandates, as well as account for federal funding cuts. Of that, about $2.6 million will be offset by reductions in some maintenance and operating expenses, as well as the elimination of iPad purchases.

Paying for the additional teachers, though, likely will mean the district will dip into its fund balance. Revenue projections leave the district about $500,000 short, and assume the county will adjust tax rates upward to offset reduced property values after they are reassessed this fall.

Follow reporter Tom Barton at twitter.com/IPBG_Tom.

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