HCS Budget: ‘We are $13.7 million out of balance’

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – The Horry County School Board is looking for ways to fill a budget deficit of around $13.79 million.

Chief Financial Officer for the district, John Gardner, said the district expects to bring in $395 million in revenue for the 2017-2018 school year but the costs are expected to be around $409 million.

“Currently, the budget stands that we are $13.7 million out of balance,” said Gardner. If the deficit stands, the school district would have to pull the money from their savings account.

However, Gardner said he’s not concerned about the deficit.

“We have staff that come and go and so we do, historically, have money left over,” he added. “That’s why we feel comfortable recommending to the board in order to use the fund balance to balance the budget, knowing full well that we won’t dip into it.”

Gardner also said the district has a healthy fund balance so “one year won’t be catastrophic for the district.”

The Finance Committee made a few suggestions to lower the $13.79 million to $12.5 million. One idea would change the salary increase for employees not eligible for STEP from two percent to one percent.

Another recommendation is to decrease the ten budgeted additional days for instructional support down to seven days.

School Board Chairman, Joe DeFeo, said they expected around 740 new students for the 2017-2018 school year.

“You take a particular extra hit when you’re opening up three new schools,” he added, while reiterating that a tax increase is not expected.

“Not one board member has talked about raising taxes,” said DeFeo. “Not when we have, in this case, 20-something million dollars in the bank.”

To read more about the budget click: here.