SUMTER, S.C. — On Monday, Sumter School District officials discussed steps they're taking to better position the district following the fiscal emergency declaration set-forth by the State Department of Education.
According to the district's Chief Financial Officer Jennifer Miller, a version of the recovery plan needed to get district finances back on track has now been approved by state officials.
However, they won't have a final budget until after a county council meeting Tuesday night.
That's because the current recovery plan includes a millage increase which will provide extra money to help cover mandated teacher salary raises.
District officials are hoping the county will approve the extra funds. If not, Miller says they'll have to revisit the budget and, without enough cash to pay the raises, they'll have to come up with an additional $1.2 million in personnel cuts.
"Were we to not receive the millage increase, one of the things we know we would have to do is go back to our budget and look at places that we can make cuts," Hamm said. "Unfortunately, in school districts about 90% of our budget is in personnel. Of course we’ve already made substantial cuts already trying to achieve the fund balance that’s required by the state, so further increases in cuts are likely to result in significant changes in personnel.”
Legislation requires that Sumter schools be under fiscal emergency for the remainder of the fiscal year, according to state education leaders.
Interim Superintendent Debbie Hamm believes they're making positive steps forward.
"We think we're within a couple hundred thousand dollars of reaching that fund balance which is really exciting for us," Hamm said.
The Sumter School District could be off of fiscal emergency by this time next year if they have enough money in their general fund and continue with the approved recovery plan, state officials say.
News 19 did reach out to County Council Chairman James McCain, but he did not want to make a comment at this time.
The County Council Meeting is Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Fire Training Center off McCrays Mill Road.