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      Horry County schools budget means teacher raises and tax cuts

      The members of the Horry County Board of Education approved their $513 million budget at their meeting Monday night.

      Since the end of January, school officials have been crunching the numbers for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, which begins July 1st. At their last meeting on May 23rd, the board vote confirmed a list of 20 line items outside of the district office worth $14.7 million. Among that, 67 budgeted positions were eliminated for a net savings of $4.7 million. None of those cut positions mean cut teachers. Instead, educators were put someplace else in the district, school board members say.

      In addition, Horry County Schools is also cutting an additional $1.2 million from the district office. None of the cuts resulted in layoffs, furlough days, or increases classroom size. Funding for supplies, materials, and equipment for schools stayed the same.

      The board also approved pay raises for more than 80 percent of the district's teachers. Teacher raises are based on the district's STEP program, which is based on experience. Jeff Riddle, Horry County School's financial director, says substitute teachers, temporary employees, and the highest highest paid employees are not eligible for pay raises. The last time teachers received a raise was in 2009.

      The board approved a small property tax cut worth about $36 on a $100,000 home or $24 on other property.