CCSD board gives preliminary approval to nearly billion dollar budget

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Charleston County School board voted on Monday to give preliminary approval to the district’s 2020 budget.

The nearly billion-dollar budget is one of the largest in Charleston County.

“It is a big budget,” CCSD board member Todd Garrett said. “It’s over $900 million. All the more reason to look at what we’re doing in the classroom and what we’re achieving for kids.”

Garrett said the district is focusing on raising teacher salaries, and said the budget reflects that.

“Teachers and all of our staff will be paid better, but teachers will see a 5.9 percent average increase in their salary,” Garrett said. “That’s a big deal for our teachers.”

Garrett said the starting teacher salary for the 2020 school year will be $40,000 with healthcare and retirement on top of that.

The budget also includes a designated $5 million to fixing the district’s under performing schools.

Over the last few months, the district has worked to come with up with a plan to fix the state designated failing schools, the official plan won’t be approved until June.

“Also allocating what they call priority funds and comprehensive improvement support funds for some of our lower performing schools, so we make sure we address the needs in those schools,” CCSD CFO Donald Kennedy said.

Kennedy said they’re also looking at programs that have been working across the district and can continue on in the future.

“It’s not just continuing to add things new, but to take a look at those programs that are effective and being able to expand those,” Kennedy said.

“I just want to see us look at everywhere candidly and do a self-assessment. What are we doing that we know is not working and we have to change that going forward,” Garrett said.

Garrett said the district has also set up a reserve fund of $87 million, higher than the state requires, to prevent the district going into another budget crisis.

You can view the budgethere.

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