On Tuesday, May 19, 2020, during a meeting of the Lexington County School District One Board of Trustees, Lexington District One administrators presented a proposed 2020–2021 general fund operating budget that is less than this year’s general fund operating budget.
District administrators conservatively planned the proposed general fund operating budget in preparation for the possibility of future state budget cuts or reductions in revenue and in the desire to head off the need for additional program cuts, employee furloughs, or worse as the 2020–2021 budget year progresses.
As a reminder, the district’s general fund operating budget provides funding for the day-to-day operations of the district, such as paying salaries, insurance, and utilities, and purchasing supplies, materials, and services. This is not to be confused with the district’s capital budget, which funds fixed assets such as facilities and equipment.
The district anticipates a 2% student increase of an additional 527 students and 15.5 FTE. However, this proposed budget is smaller than the district’s current (2019–2020) general fund operating budget. To do this, it maintains current employee salaries and steps at the current level until the state passes an appropriations bill and includes cuts to programs and services, fees and other areas.
In the first reading of the proposed budget, Lexington District One administrators recommended a 2020–2021 $287,101,344 general fund budget — about a 2.7 percent decrease (down $8,022,405) from Lexington District One’s current operating budget for 2019–2020 of $295,123,749. The proposed budget consists of about 87.7% salaries and related costs, 7.7% for programs and services, and 4.6% for utilities and maintenance.
The proposed budget meets state and federal requirements, includes inflationary costs and provides for the opening of Centerville Elementary School, the restructuring of Gilbert Elementary School, the relocation of Pelion Middle School, and the opening of the district’s College Center located at Gilbert High School.
District administrators felt it important to consider the impact of the COIVD-19 pandemic on businesses, county and state tax revenue, and local assessment projections. As a result, district administrators used cautious projections for revenue and did not recommend a millage increase for operations.
Although the General Assembly passed a continuing budget resolution for the upcoming year, they did not pass a 2020–2021 appropriations bill.
District administrators continue to monitor the economy and any future budget action of the General Assembly. Should there be an improvement in the state budget or revenue once the General Assembly passes a 2020–2021 appropriations bill, the district can amend its general fund budget as needed.