Aiken, S.C. -
Aiken County Public School District School Board invited the public to give input on the budget for the upcoming academic year.
Very few people showed up to the public hearing, in fact only one resident spoke.The school district’s comptroller estimates that the tentative budget is a nearly $7 million increase from last school year, but with that increase comes more money and more programs.
“Funding for a ninth grade academy at Aiken High School.That included some teacher allocation and guidance allocation,” Tray Traxler, the school district’s comptroller said while presenting the 2014-2015 budget.
The tentative total budget of $244,944,694 includes additional teacher positions and a two percent increase for existing staff.
Traxler said, “Our biggest price tag items are the step increase for teachers and step increase for non teachers.”
According to Traxler, the school district will also receive one million dollars from the state for reading coaches and technology money as well.
The public, however, was more concerned about the appearance of South Aiken High School’s gymnasium and bathroom.
Beverlie Hunter said she attended an awards event at the school when a visitor coming from the men’s restroom told her, “There’s no ceiling tiles in the gym, there’s no paper in the bathrooms, there’s no mirrors, there’s no locks on the doors.”She said the women’s restroom is the same.
Hunter told the board that she believes taxpayers would be willing to help the district.
“Teachers need raises, school bus drivers need raises, everyone does and they deserve them, but I think our students deserve some consideration in this also,” she said.
Hunter told the board not to be afraid to raise taxes to help the conditions of the schools.Board member Dwight Smith said they are in talks with the legislature to apply a one percent sales tax through a referendum.
The school board will hold a budget hearing June 10th at 7:00 P.M. and vote on the final budget June 24th.
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