Originally created 06/14/06

Final vote on tax increase coming



AIKEN - Aiken County residents voiced their opinions Tuesday about the proposed school budget, which contains a tax increase.

The public input session for the tentative 2006-07 budget was held as the board prepares to vote on a final document at its next meeting, which is in two weeks.

At its most recent regular meeting, board members voted to accept a 2.1-mill tax increase.

The increase is necessary in order for the district to maintain compliance with South Carolina tax laws or risk losing a major portion of its state funding, district officials said.

A home valued at $100,000 would see an increase of about $8 a year on its tax bill.

At its recent budget workshop meeting, the board voted to shift dollars from the general fund of the budget to other areas that affected bookkeepers, the pupil-teacher ratio and swim coaches.

The board approved $123,000 to hire teachers to reduce the pupil-teacher ratio by one student in sixth grades, according to Comptroller Brock Heron.

A total of $256,000 was directed toward adding a part-time bookkeeper at each elementary school, Mr. Heron said.

A total of $9,600 was set aside for the salary of head swim coaches at district high schools that already have or plan to form swim teams, Mr. Heron said.

The board discussed, but has not voted yet, on whether to allocate $100,560 to add a new position of director of secondary education for the district's middle and high schools, Mr. Heron said.

Board Chairman John B. Bradley said the board has requested that the administration finalize any changes it might make to the division of instruction before the board decides whether to add the position.

Reach Nathan Dickinson at (803) 648-1395, ext. 109 or nathan.dickinson@augustachronicle.com