Taxpayers in Dorchester District 2 should not see an increase on their bills this year to pay for schools.
At the same time, teachers and other district employees will get a 2 percent pay raise at a cost to the district of $2 million, but it’s likely that at least half of that will be eaten up in employees’ share of an increase in retirement and benefits costs.
“It’s a miracle we do what we are able to do without a millage increase,” Superintendent Joe Pye said. “I would love if somehow or another a million dollars popped in there so we could increase salaries more. I would like to do 4 percent instead of 2. We want to send a message to employees that we would like to help them because they stood by us in difficult times.”
After workshops and presentations at district schools, the board on Monday presented the $148.2 million budget, a $4.8 million increase from last year, to Dorchester County Council.
In addition to the raises, the budget includes about $600,000 for the district’s share of increased health and retirement costs; $275,000 for pay increases for substitute teachers (which the district implemented earlier this year); and nearly $3.6 million for 65 teachers and support staff to maintain class size and accommodate growth.
Revenue is expected to be $144.8 million, leaving a $3.35 million shortfall, according to district chief financial officer Allyson Duke. The additional money will come from the district’s fund balance from prior year surplus created by growth.
If the district has any extra money, it would use it to increase salaries another 1 percent, decrease class sizes and increase stipends to currently unpaid coaches and club sponsors.