Board Avoids Tax Increase

The Fairfield County School Board worked through the final stages of their 2012-2013 budget Tuesday night and avoided a 3 mill tax increase by authorizing administration to take the additional $109,125 in expenditures out of the fund balance.

“It’s not unusual to use cash to balance a budget, particularly when it’s a small amount of cash,” interim superintendent Dr. David Eubanks said. “I’m optimistic that, as we close out the year, we’ll have over-collections and under-expenditures, so I am confident about your fund balance. If it were a half a million dollars, I’d say don’t do it.”

The Board also approved the revised salary schedules as part of the budget on a 6-1 vote. Board member Annie McDaniel voted against the salary schedule, which will provide a wage increase for the majority of District employees.

“This has been a tremendous task, no doubt about it,” Board member Bobby Cunningham said. “We have discussed this many times. We have so many people on the lower echelon of this scale. We are showing these employees who have been sitting here for years and years and years that we are trying to make an improvement in their lifestyles.”

McDaniel questioned the efficacy of the scale, including the step increases and asked for an example of where a lower-paid employee was actually benefiting from the new scale.

“A bus driver with zero years’ experience will start out at $11.63,” Eubanks said. “It’s currently $8.79.”

While McDaniel urged the Board to go through the scale, salary by salary, before approving, Board member Beth Reid moved to approve the administration’s work.

“I think it’s time to move on with it,” Reid said. “It’s not our job to break it apart. That was their (administration’s) directive.”

Henry Miller seconded the motion.