Abbeville county school dist June 2019 board

Abbeville County School District’s board of trustees passed the district’s 2019-20 school year budget Monday evening with a 6-2 vote.

ABBEVILLE — Abbeville County School District will raise property taxes in the 2019-20 school year to fund an across-the-board raise for its teachers and support staff.

Trustees voted 5-3 to approve the 2019-20 school year budget on Monday, which included a 4.6-mill increase.

Superintendent Betty Jo Hall said the budget increase was a measure of the district’s success in retaining experienced — and well-compensated — teachers and commitment to its support staff.

South Carolina lawmakers gave the state’s teachers a 4% raise and gave districts the money to fund the raise. They did not, however, include money for teachers’ fringe benefits or a raise for support staff.

The district’s 2019-20 budget included a 4% raise for every district employee.

Trustee Buster Taylor voted against the budget, saying he did not think enough effort was made to keep it lean.

“I just feel like we owe it to the public to try to find some places we could trim,” Taylor said.

Trustee Keith Dunn, meanwhile, voted against the budget saying he was concerned by its consistent upward march.

Dunn pointed out the budget had increased about 17% since the 2016-17 school year, something he called a “sustainability issue.” He did, however, add that he is not against giving the district’s employees raises, which district finance director Roni Scott attributed the majority of the year-by-year increases.

Trustee David Brooks also voted against the budget. Mark Peeler was not present.

Hall said the 4.6-mill increase would raise the annual tax on a $40,000 car by $11.40. It would raise the annual tax on a $150,000 rental home by $41.40.

Of the $27 million budget, almost $8 million will come from local sources and about $18 million will come from the state.

Contact staff writer Aleks Gilbert at 864-943-5644.