052517 Schools: No tax increase, but there’s a list just in case
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Schools: No tax increase, but there’s a list just in case

By Charles Swenson

There is no tax increase included in the budget for Georgetown County Schools that starts July 1. But there could be.

State law allows the school district to add 1.6 mills to its current tax rate of 107 mills. That would add $9.60 to the tax bill for a $100,000 commercial property or rental home. Owner-occupied homes don’t pay property taxes for school operations under the same law that limits tax increases. The funds come instead from a portion of the state sales tax.

If there was a tax increase, it could pay for additional teachers or supplements for existing teachers or academic coaches. Superintendent Randy Dozier gave the school board a list last week. “I could probably make it twice as long,” he said.

He stopped when he got to $1.13 million, since a tax increase would only generate $560,000. At the top of the list is tuition reimbursement for staff development. “We’re not helping with that. We need to be,” Dozier said.

Board Member Richard Kerr agreed, though he didn’t endorse a tax increase. “Some way or another we need to find a way to do that,” he said.

Dozier estimated the reimbursement at $150,000.

Other items on his list:

• Someone to teach English to speakers of other languages, known as ESOL: $70,000;

• Supplements to support staff certifications, capped at $1,000 per person: $35,000;

• Two more technology coaches for elementary schools. There are two already: $180,000;

• A health occupations teacher for Carvers Bay High: $70,000;

• Three science coaches. The district cut two of those positions in 2015: $270,000.

• Five foreign language teachers for elementary and middle schools. Those positions were cut in 2008: $350,000.

The school board received the list last week without comment. The board will hold a public hearing on its $84.9 million operating budget on June 6. Approval of the budget is expected to follow.

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