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HomefinanceDorchester School Dist. Two presents $288 million budget for fiscal year 2025

Dorchester School Dist. Two presents $288 million budget for fiscal year 2025

DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) – Dorchester School District Two is presenting its $288 million budget to Dorchester County’s budget, finance, and purchasing committee on Monday night.
This budget is separate from the $200 million going toward the school district’s referendum.
Dorchester School District Two Superintendent Dr. Shane Robbins says one of the biggest things he wants people to understand is that 88-percent of their general fund budget is dedicated to salaries and benefits for their employees.
He says they have just under 4,200 employees and that 88-percent goes towards them.
“The difference in this year’s budget is just the significant salary increase for our teachers and for our classified staff,” Robbins says.
He says that if approved, they would raise every salary lineup by $5,500. This means the starting teacher salary would jump from $43,500 to $49,000. This would be put into place for the fiscal year 2025.
He also says there would be an extension in salary schedules from 28 years to 30 years.
“They have an increase every year for 28 years and then that’s where our salary schedule stops. Now, we’re extending that out two more years, so that you will see a, it’s about a 1.6 just on average, percent increase every year that you’re with the district,” Robbins says.
He says that this budget does not affect residents’ tax dollars. Monday night will be the third reading of the budget, and Robbins says they hope to get it approved in June.
The additional items in the budget include $2,000 signing bonuses for certified staff and $3,000 signing bonuses for special education teachers. Also, a longevity stipend, for those who have been in the district for a while. The longer they have been there, the higher dollar amount they will receive when they sign their continuing contract.
“We base everything we do on our staff,” Robbins says. “If we don’t demonstrate to our staff, you know through, whether it’s through financial reimbursement opportunities, or even what I call the gift of time, and just their working conditions, then we’re really going to struggle on the retention piece of that.”
Hunter Jackson, a parent with a student in the district, says it’s imperative to not only hire the best teachers but to also make them want to stay here long term.
“We’ve got to get in front of those best teachers. Those teachers that I want for my kids,” Jackson says. “It’s a great place to work and then you take that with a signing bonus, we’re going to get those highly qualified people and that’s exactly what we need in the district for our children.”
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