Raises expected for all Horry County Schools employees despite budget deficit

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – The Horry County School Board went line-by-line on some budget items on Monday night as they discussed the 2017-2018 budget deficit. Before the meeting, the district was short about $13.79 million.

If the deficit stands, the school district would have to pull the money from its savings account.

However, some costs were added to the budget at Monday night’s meeting. The HR Committee recommended creating Assistant Athletic Directors at each high school, which would cost around $79,720 each year.

The board also voted to keep a 2% salary increase for employees not eligible for STEP after the Finance Committee recommended decreasing it to 1%. The 2% increase will cost the district around $1,265,923.

Horry County School Board Chairman Joe DeFeo says he anticipates every employee to get a raise in the coming year. In addition to the increase for employees not eligible for STEP, $974,687 will go to employees who are eligible.

During Monday night’s meeting, there was also a lengthy discussion about a $2,500 signing bonus for new teachers coming to the district to teach “critical needs” areas like speech, world language, math, science, English and special education.

Chairman DeFeo said he would like the money to go towards retention of teachers and not used as a signing bonus.

The budget item was changed from a signing bonus to a “recruitment and retention” bonus. District staff will continue to work on how to best split up the $375,000.

Chief Financial Officer John Garden says based on financial trends from years passed, he expects nearly $11 million to be left over at the end of the year.

DeFeo said the district should only have about a $3.2 million deficit and may even out by the end of the year.

“That’s where I thought it would end up a month ago,” said DeFeo. “I thought we might even out. I think we’ll actually be at about $3.2 million but historically we’ve been very conservative on the estimates.”

The next steps for the budget are to have a public hearing on June 5 and possibly a final vote. The budget must be finalized by July 1.