DD2 faces $7 million shortfall as budget talks head to county council

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Dorchester District 2 leaders say their school district is facing a $7 million shortfall as they discuss next school year’s budget.

“We find ourselves in need with our hand out and just hoping our leaders will soften their hearts and help us with our children and their children,” DD2 Vice Chairwoman Tanya Robinson said.

Coming off a teacher rally 10,000 strong in Columbia last week, district leaders hope all those voices can spark what’s needed to get Dorchester County Council to approve more money for DD2 schools.

“We literally are beggars going to our county council pleading for money,” Robinson said.

Right now, the district is facing a more than $7 million deficit as teachers are leaving, buses are aging, and the student population is outgrowing its classrooms.

“We are losing teachers to the profession or other professions. But the majority of what we see that we are losing is to neighboring districts and it’s because of what we see on the budget,” DD2 school board member Gail Hughes said.

The dire needs board members are considering including 20 additional teachers to possibly lower class sizes, funding for a $40,000 minimum teacher salary to retain teachers, additional SROs and expanding mental health programs, among other things.

“We’re in a mess, family, and we need all the help we can get,” Robinson said.

“We can’t do more with less anymore,” Hughes added.

The Dorchester District 2 Board of Trustees will hold a called board meeting on Thursday, May 9 to approve the proposed 2019-2020 district budget for presentation to Dorchester County Council on May 13. The board will also vote to adjourn into executive session for personnel recommendations. The meeting will be held at Ashley Ridge High School in the media center starting at 5 p.m. prior to the District Teacher of the Year Celebration at 7 p.m

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