Thursday, April 17, 2008

Charleston Schools Budget: Millons Missing from Promised State Aid?

Posted by Greg Hambrick on Thu, Apr 17, 2008 at 7:13 AM

In yesterday's print edition, we looked at the Charleston County School District's $25 million to $27 million shortfall. More than a third of the difference was expected to come from the Statehouse. We had our doubts.

To make up the difference in regards to the general funding formula, local legislators led by Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell, have promised to find nearly $11 million to replace what Charleston has lost to smaller districts. While those promises were comforting in the past few years when the state budget looked plentiful, there's reason to wonder if this year's tight budget will make finding the money difficult.

Last night, it looks like that foundation in the Statehouse fell out.

McConnell didn't blush at winning more than $5 million for 21 school districts, which he sees as a stopgap measure to address a flawed formula of how the state distributes cash to districts.

"We appropriate millions of dollars in new money, and we've got a bunch of districts getting less money than they got last year," McConnell said. "It just makes no sense."

Lets hope the rest of the money needed was tucked away somewhere else in the budget. As for future years, lets hope the state funding formula for schools changes. Because the gig is up.

"It's the rites of spring," said Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler, a Gaffney Republican whose Upstate district hugs the North Carolina border. "Every year, for 28 years, in the budget, we have the annual Charleston budget crisis."

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