Budget hurt by spending

I voted against the Pickens County School District budget for 2016-17 for three reasons.

This budget again eliminates classroom teaching positions, boosting class sizes. A total of 65 classroom teachers have now been eliminated over three years. As families breakdown further, and some children become more difficult to teach, the board should be reducing class sizes not making them larger.

In good economic times when revenue is growing the board should be putting money aside. Thus, when the bad economic times hit, the district will have a savings nest egg to fall back on to cope with falling revenue and it will not have to cut spending as much.

This budget runs savings down $1.7 million in good economic times, so little savings (if any) will be available when the next recession hits.

There are a variety of extra pay raises in the budget. It is well intended – I support most of them, but too many are being done at one time. It is like with the extra teacher pay raises. I thought it was a good idea to phase them in over a few years, as was originally proposed.

However, I opposed the last minute change to give three teacher pay raises in one year, because it threw the current budget into deficit and caused more of a draw down in savings.

You can see the stress the aggressive spending plan is causing. Look at the actions taken to try and make it all work — closing schools, eliminating teachers and raising tax rates (1.5 mils) on the borrowing side. None of that the public supports.

Alex Saitta

School Board Trustee

School District of Pickens County


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