The Beaufort County school board will officially kick off its budget season tonight when it hears the first presentation on next year's numbers.
The board called a special meeting for the presentation, which begins at 4:30 p.m. in the district office at 2900 Mink Point Blvd. in Beaufort.
Last year, Beaufort County Council approved a $189.6 million budget for the district, with roughly $114.9 million of that being generated from property taxes.
While that did require an increase to the tax rate, that figure kept the district revenue neutral. It also meant the district was forced to cut roughly $3.4 million from its budget -- removing hall monitors from the high schools and teachers to accommodate the schools' growing enrollment.
It is unclear at the moment if the district's proposed budget would require an increase in tax revenue and property taxes for second-home owners.
However, several board members have said that it is impossible to serve the district's growing student body on a stagnant -- or shrinking -- budget.
In previous discussions, the board has identified several programs and initiatives that it believes are crucial to improving education and opportunities for students that could show up on the budget:
The district has said it is committed to expanding both its prekindergarten program, as well as its career and technical education offerings -- with data showing both are key to improving students' success.
The first phases of expansion this year would involve adding several classrooms for each and the necessary staff and equipment.
While some of the programs will require additional costs for equipment and training, that amount is minimal.
Beaufort County has one of the highest cost-of-living indexes in the state, making it difficult for teachers and staff to afford living in the area.
Although improving salaries or providing a cost-of- living adjustment would cost millions, officials believe it needs to be considered to have the best people in front of students.
- School board asks County Council to give it $114.9M previously approved, August 19, 2014
- Schools to allow more students in choice programs, but won't transport them, January 18, 2015
- School district starts budget season already in the hole, January 10, 2015