The budget process for the 2023-2024 school year has been underway since August 2022. This proposed budget continues to move the District forward in a fiscally responsible way while addressing important needs that face our schools as we move into the 2023-2024 School Year.
The Board of Trustees approved the budget after the 3rd reading on May 22, 2023. We are pleased to offer the community a budget that supports continued academic success for our students with no tax increase.
For an overview of the FY 2023-2024 General Fund Budget, click on the following:
• 2023-2024 School District of Pickens County General Fund Budget
The annual budget development process is one of the largest, most complex projects that SDPC undertakes each year. Our budget reflects the priorities of our district and the community as a whole. Understanding our budget is essential as we work together to ultimately achieve student success.
The District’s FY 2023-2024 budget continues to build our educational programs while remaining sensitive to the taxpayer. We are pleased to offer the community a budget that supports continued academic success for our students without raising taxes. The South Carolina General Assembly’s commitment to funding education in the state budget, as well as growth in local revenues as a result of Pickens County’s economic growth, made this achievement possible. Note that while the state allows districts to raise School Operations millage annually, the School District of Pickens County is not proposing this for 2023-24. It is also important to note that while the Operating Millage rate for Pickens County stands at 110.00, other than Oconee County, all other surrounding districts range from 143.20 – 194.00 mills levied for operations.
The overall goal of the Fiscal Year 2024 operating budget is to establish a financial foundation for the long term. The budget has been carefully crafted to ensure that we can continue to provide an exceptional educational experience for our students, while also addressing the evolving needs of our workforce and embracing innovative approaches to learning. Priorities include:
• Continue the expansion of educational opportunities and increase student achievement
• Move to a more competitive position with surrounding districts on teacher pay and support staff pay • Manage increasing state-mandated benefits costs
The approved FY 2023-2024 General Fund Budget totals $165,166,159, an increase of $12,533,229 or a 8.2% increase from the FY 2022-2023 amended budgeted revenue. Of the revenue increase, approximately 93% or $11.6 M is additional state revenue. Of the $12,533,229 increase in expenditures, 56% is dedicated to enhancing teacher compensation and 19% is providing additional resources to further connect with students.
Academic growth and excellence are central to our mission, and we remain dedicated to providing a strong foundation for our students. Our early-childhood efforts have proven to be instrumental in shaping the futures of our youngest learners, and we are committed to continuing these initiatives. Additionally, we have prioritized the provision of resources to support our students and staff, including instructional supplies, increased funding for fine arts, athletics, after-school activities, and specialized services. By fostering an environment rich in resources and support, we aim to nurture the growth and development of every individual within our school community.
Attracting and retaining a high-quality workforce is essential to the success of our school district. As the nation faces a teacher shortage, we recognize the importance of supporting and nurturing our educators, administrators, and staff members, as they play a crucial role in shaping the lives of our students. SDPC is committed to implementing strategies for offering competitive starting salaries and maintaining market competitiveness.
The budget includes a pay increase for all district employees, including, at a minimum, a $2,500 increase in all cells on the current teacher salary schedule. The budget also adds additional steps on the pay scale for teachers with 26- 30 years of experience. All support staff will receive a minimum of 5% increase in pay, with Bus Driver starting pay shifting from $15.00/hr to $17.28/hour.
Noted budget expenditures:
(See www.pickens.k12.sc.us/page/financial-information – Budget FY 23-24 for full details)
Developing Great Educators and Leaders:
Legislative Mandates / Required Expenditures:
• $902,222 – 1.0% Retirement Increase
• $769,518 – 3.7% Health Insurance Increase
Teacher and Educational Support Staff Compensation
• $766,453 – FY 2024 Year of Experience (YOE) Teacher Step
• $5,966,986 – Adjust all cells on the current teacher salary schedule by at least $2,500 • $322,787 – Add Years of Experience 26-30 to teacher salary schedule
• $991,435 – Increase Support Staff pay schedule by 5.0% and provide a level increase • $556,922 – Bus Driver starting pay shifting from $15.00/hr to $17.28/hour plus YOE increase • $136,970 – Increase Nurse Salary scale and YOE
Future-Focused Innovation / Ensuring Academic Growth and Excellence:
• $72,000 – Dual Enrollment partnership
• $615,593 – SPED Self-Contained Classroom Staffing and Support
• $450,710 – Provide 6.0 positions to support Middle School Fine Arts
• $89,738 – Increase student Instructional Supply allocations by 5.0%
• $278,814 – Increase Athletics & Activities support and increase support for afterschool activities • $95,000 – District Innovation and Additional Pickens County Career & Technology Center Supply Allocation
In conclusion, the 2023-2024 General Fund Budget reflects our unwavering commitment to providing an exceptional educational experience for our students. The budget focus is simple: We need to meet the needs of our students; we need to meet the needs of our teachers and staff. By prioritizing the attraction and retention of a high-quality workforce, we can better engage students in innovative educational opportunities and ensure academic growth and excellence. These efforts empower our students to reach their full potential.
The FY 2023-2024 General Fund Budget supports students, supports teachers, and supports a community that values quality education. We deeply value the partnership and support of our parents and the community, and we look forward to working together to make the upcoming academic year a resounding success.
Dr. Daniel B. Merck