The South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities has asked for $2.26 million in budget requests from the state’s General Assembly, most of which would be used for facility repairs.
Since the Governor’s School is a state-funded, specialized school, it doesn’t receive the local funding school districts get. Nearly all of its revenue comes from state appropriations.
About $166,000 of the budget requests are recurring funds for teacher salary step increases as well as two positions — a building and grounds specialist and a production manager.
The bulk of the requests — $1.92 million — are for maintenance and replacements:
- Teacher salary in-schedule step increase – $60,000 (recurring)
- Other operating expense budget increase – $150,000
- Shingled roof replacement – $120,000
- Building and Grounds Specialist II – $42,880 and one classified FTE position (recurring)
- Chiller and boiler replacement – $415,000
- HVAC split systems replacement – $150,000
- Repave parking lot and roads; add safe, walkable campus access – $235,000
- Dining hall expansion and furniture replacement – $800,000
- Production manager – $62,980 and one additional classified FTE position (recurring)
- Elevator maintenance and repair – $155,000
- Drama theater lighting upgrade – $65,000
Cedric Adderley, president of the school, told board members the state’s House Ways and Means Committee approved only the $120,000 for the roof replacement, but the requests are now in the hands of the state Senate.
“The House Ways and Means Committee did not smile upon us too much,” Adderley said.
Adderley said he’s hopeful the Senate will approve more of the requests, including the mandated salary step increases for teachers.
“That’s a budget hole every year for us,” Chairman Chad Prosser said.
Adderley said the Governor’s School is about $1 million behind in operational expenses compared with a decade ago.
“There’s a bit more work to do, but we do hope we’ll get a bit more out of the Senate,” Adderley said.
Serving students in grades 10 through 12, the school is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year since it opened as a residential high school for juniors.
“In 20 years, most of these things start needing to be replaced,” Prosser said. “So we’re at the end of that cycle of useful life.”
Board member Bob Hughes joked the school could take a page out of A.J. Whittenberg Elementary School of Engineering’s playbook — the school’s dining furniture came from a closed Chinese restaurant.
“Someone said, ‘It’s a really great dining room, but it looks like a Chinese restaurant,’” Hughes said.
Christina Vandiver, director of public relations at the school, said in a statement that few state agencies will be granted their full budget requests this year.
“Last year, the school was granted $632,000 to upgrade the fire protection system, replace the core switch for the campus technology system, and hire a Director of Outreach and Engagement,” Vandiver said. “Although the full list of priorities for FY20 is in excess of $2 million, it has been determined that few state agencies will be allocated their full request and the Governor’s School is no exception. As always, Dr. Adderley remains hopeful for additional appropriations beyond what was proposed.”
The school is working on a $4.3-million music building that is expected to be completed by the fall.
The school’s total budget this year is about $10 million, according to Vandiver.