The McDuffie County Board of Education tentatively approved the school system’s budget for the 2019-2020 school year on May 16, after working through the budget in its April 24 meeting.

For the proposed budget,  revenue is projected to be at $35,193,558 with expenditures at $35,190,624, creating a surplus of $2,934. In last year’s original budget, revenue was expected to be at $34,529,092 with an expenditure of $34,224,169, and a surplus of $304,923. An amended budget later took account of changes in the year upa certain point. The result of the amended budget was revenue at $34,653,253 with expenditures at $34,590,411 and a surplus of $62,842. Charisa Carter, controller  for the McDuffie County School System, said that the surplus in the last few budgets has come from an increase in state funding and through the district analysing data on salaries and on student needs.

In regards to positions at the schools, the board announced the possibility of some position cuts and additions. Carter said that spots will only reduce if the board determines a lack of need. So far, the only school without a reduction consideration is Dearing Elementary School. Carter said the system has 12 reductions in total planned and a 9 and one-fourth increase in teacher allotments over all.

“The reductions that we are making are based on our flexibility with class size requirements,” School Superintendent Mychele Rhodes said. “We’re taking into account the hiring pool that we have available for us here in the school system.”

For hires, the board looked at a variety of positions to fill. At the May 16 meeting, the board approved the hire of Thomson-McDuffie Middle School’s new assistant principal for discipline, Marcus Moore, and Maxwell Elementary School’s new assistant principal, Keturah Hoskins.  In addition, the system will hire a special education teacher at Dearing,  two at Thomson High School, and two at Thomson-McDuffie Middle School. TMMS will also get a school within a school coordinator, and the high school will get two Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE) teachers.

Rhodes said that the school system is operating in alignment with the students it has and what the system earns from the state. “We’re at a good spot now,” she said.

As for a teacher supplement next year, initial plans at the budget work session looked at a repeat, but plans changed in the May meeting. The Department of Education gave a notice of an error in the system’s QBE, where McIntosh information swapped for McDuffie County, causing  higher numbers. Because of that error, totaling $406,096, and an error in the local fare share amount, equaling  $132,441, the proposed budget had a total loss of 4538,537. Reductions in a proposed position, a salary analysis for leaving and incoming staff, use of proposed  excess funds, and motor vehicle tax revenue made up for the error. Rhodes said that after September payroll, the board might have more leeway to add in the longevity supplement back in. It is currently not budgeted.

Though the board tentatively approved the budget for next school year, the final budget approval will occur after public hearings on May 23 at 5 p.m. and June 3 at 9 a.m.

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