Worcester School Board Approves $105M Budget; Plan Highlighted By Salary Increases

SNOW HILL – School system officials adopted a proposed $105 million budget, highlighted by salary increases and a handful of capital projects, for the coming year.

On Tuesday, the Worcester County Board of Education approved a $104,767,501 budget for FY18. An expenditure increase of $1.8 million is expected to fund salary increases for school system employees. Agreements with the Worcester County Teachers Association and the Worcester County Education Support Personnel Association are being ratified.

“A table agreement was reached with both units about a week and a half ago,” said Vince Tolbert, the school system’s chief financial officer.

While the school board has adopted a budget, county officials aren’t set to begin reviewing it until March. As proposed, the bulk of the school system’s budget—$84,912,776—would be funded by the county. That amount represents a 4 percent increase in county funding over what was provided for the current fiscal year.

Tolbert’s expecting Worcester County Public Schools to receive $19 million in state aid. That represents a $95,000 increase over FY17.

Expenditure increases the school system is facing in the coming year include the $1.8 million needed to provide salary increases as well as $136,025 to cover payroll taxes on those salary increases. Insurance costs are expected to increase by $710,447.

“Those rates won’t be finalized until probably May,” Tolbert said.

The budget also includes $40,389 to provide bus contractors with a 1 percent increase in hourly and mileage rates. There’s also funding allocated for new buses and additional spare buses.

One-time capital projects increased the coming year’s expenditures by $566,100. Tolbert said the projects included the replacement of energy management systems at Buckingham Elementary School and Snow Hill Middle School as well as a new chiller at Stephen Decatur Middle School and a shaded swing at Cedar Chapel Special School.

Now that it’s been adopted by the school board, the budget will be forwarded to county officials. A county budget review is scheduled for March 28. The school system will approve a final operating budget in June after the county adopts its FY18 budget.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.