SUMMERVILLE -- Teachers packed the Dorchester County Council chamber, so many they lined the walls and were standing out in the hall. One row in the chamber was filled with district students who came from foreign countries.
The show of force made its impression, all right, on a council about to consider the Dorchester District 2 schools' budget. Not that it hasn't been done before, but the faces are all too familiar to council members with ties to the schools, the crowd this year just too large and the problem glaring: the district can't keep limiting services and teachers while absorbing enough new students each year to fill a new school.
Council members want to balance the budget without a tax increase. But after a few years of revenue cuts that school district officials said totaled $33 million, the district wants a second tax increase in two years.
That's where County Council finds itself, going into Monday's budget public hearing in St. George and a final vote on the 2011-2012 budget on June 6. At the meeting earlier this week, council passed second reading on a budget that doesn't increase taxes, and sent the school's request to its finance committee to decide by June.
Read more later at postandcourier.com and also in tomorrow's newspaper.