CLOVER — The Clover school district might add more than 30 teachers and other staff in the fall if a $69 million budget is approved.
The proposal, presented this week to school board members, does not include a tax increase, Superintendent Marc Sosne said.
“Everyone will see a decrease next year based on our budget,” he said.
Included in the proposed budget is $827,000 to hire six teachers and one guidance counselor at Clover High School and pay for a new course at the technical education center.
It also includes $656,000 to add four teachers at Oakridge Middle, two assistants at Crowders Creek Elementary, a teacher at Clover Middle School, and three support personnel and two assistants in special education.
“The student body has grown, so we’re asking for these enhancements to help meet their success,” said district finance director Ken Love.
School officials have said the improvements are possible because Clover budgeted carefully and maintained a budget surplus in recent years. Last year, the Clover board approved more than $1 million in additional spending for the current school year, including an expanded Blue Eagle Academy, an after-school tutoring program and additional teaching positions to handle enrollment growth.
The budget proposal also includes $180,000 for library upgrades and $675,000 for five positions to maintain class sizes and to hire teachers and assistants for three more preschool classes, bringing the total number of preschool classes to 15.
“We’re very proud of our class-size ratio,” Sosne said. “We want to maintain that. Those five positions will allow us to do that quickly and easily.”
The preschool proposal would allow 60 more 4-year-old kindergarten students to enroll in the Clover program, which Sosne said would address a waiting list that has existed for three years.
The proposed budget includes an increase in the operating tax rate for business owners and anyone other than owner-occupied homes, but a larger decrease in the tax rate for debt service.
That means homeowners would pay $40 less in taxes per $100,000 of assessed property value, and business owners would see an overall decrease in the tax rate. The amount of the decrease depends on the assessment of the business, Love said.
Also included in the budget is $300,000 for a pilot program to give tablet computers to students and teachers. The budget would pay for 735 tablets for the “Connected Classroom” program.
Selected teachers would use tablets for lessons, with each student provided a device. All schools would participate during the 2014-15 year.
Teachers weighed pros and cons of different tablet devices, with the iPad chosen for middle and elementary schools, and the high school undecided between that and another tablet, said Assistant Superintendent Sheila Huckabee.
The school board also discussed district-wide fundraising and fee concerns and expectations.
Board chairman Mack McCarter told principals in the audience to ask teachers leading extracurricular activities to provide “more defined structures of the costs” involved in participating in such activities, so parents know all costs upfront.