The Cherokee County School Board has approved a fiscal 2019 budget and a three-year renewal of its superintendent’s contract. CHEROKEE COUNTY SCHOOLS

Cherokee schools OK budget, superintendent’s contract

The Cherokee County School Board has approved a budget for the 2019 fiscal year, and a $26,500 boost to the superintendent’s annual salary under a three-year renewal of his employee contract.

Superintendent Brian V. Hightower’s salary will go from $198,500 currently to $225,000 under the new contract that runs through June 30, 2021.

The fiscal plan he recommended to the board calls for an operating budget of $406 million, up from $385 million currently, based on rising student enrollment, restoration of the final $4 million in state “austerity budget cuts,” and the property tax digest’s recovery to pre-recession levels, officials said.

The budget continues class-size reductions, increases safety and security spending, and maintains the millage rate at 19.45 mills, officials said. It also calls for hiring 55 teachers, three school police officers and two counselors; longevity step raises and a 1 percent cost-of-living salary increase for all eligible employees; and a $500 increase in the starting teacher’s salary, to $43,000.

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