FCSD Board faces $2.7M shortfall

WINNSBORO – The Fairfield County School Board followed up last weeks’ mostly inaudible discussion of an impending $2.7 million shortfall in next year’s budget with a presentation on the 2020-2021 budget at Tuesday night’s regular board meeting.

Kevin Robinson, the district’s chief financial officer, said staff would likely bring a continuing resolution for board consideration at the May meeting. The resolution would allow the district to fund operations past June 30 at the same budget levels in the present 2019-2020 budget.

Several school districts in the state are passing similar resolutions because the coronavirus crisis is preventing the General Assembly from adopting a state budget by June 30. Richland Two approved a similar continuing resolution last week.

Board member Paula Hartman asked what impact the continuing resolution would have since the district is facing a $2.7 million shortfall, largely due to property value changes associated with the failed V.C. Summer nuclear reactors.

Robinson said it’s too soon to address the shortfall now, since the shortfall is merely a prediction at this point.

“To adopt the change now would be premature and most likely we’d have to make more changes. So we’re waiting until we have a more complete picture,” Robinson said.

In other business, the board adopted a pair of temporary measures in response to the coronavirus crisis.

The board voted to adopt an emergency resolution that “suspends all policies, administrative procedures, and other rules that conflict” with Gov. Henry McMaster’s state of emergency declaration from mid-March.

Frick said the resolution would allow either Green or Frick to make decisions in the event the board cannot meet.

The board also adopted revisions to Policy BEDH to suspend public comment at board meetings until the coronavirus pandemic passes. By state law, school boards must still allow public hearings for matters such as budget adoption.

Frick said the decision comes as a recommendation from the S.C. School Board Association. Richland Two also adopted a similar measure last month.

Both measures passed unanimously.