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Major Boost in Starting Salary for SC Teachers Proposed

Teacher with cash stack.

Major Boost in Starting Salary for SC Teachers Proposed

South Carolina could potentially make an essential shift towards better pay for teachers. In a new budget proposal, there is talk of significantly increasing the starting salary for educators across the state. Should this proposal pass, it would signal a strong stance from the government in valuing education and educators highly.

Dire Need of More Teachers

Before the onset of the current school year, more than 1,600 teaching positions remained vacant in South Carolina, a record high in the growing trend of vacant teaching positions. Advocates for public education argue that although boosting teachers’ salaries is not the ultimate resolution to this escalating issue, it plays a substantial role.

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Numerous Winners in the Proposed Budget

The spending scheme approved this week by the budget-writing committee, the Ways and Means Committee, would take effect from July 1. According to Rep. Neal Collins, a member of the Ways and Means Public Education subcommittee, “Teachers are, at least on the House side, the huge winner of this year’s budget.” The committee plans to use almost a third of the expected $600 million surplus this year to facilitate a substantial pay increase for teachers. Education expert Patrick Kelly hailed this significant step, calling it, “An absolutely massive investment.”

Proposed Increase Surpasses Requested Figures

The budget proposal is set to raise the minimum salary for teachers by $4,500, thus increasing the starting salary up to $47,000. This figure is even more prominent than the requests made by Gov. Henry McMaster and State Superintendent of Education Ellen Weaver.

The Importance of Retaining Teachers

Kelly believes that the proposed increase in starting salaries indicates that lawmakers are aware of the need to not only attract new teachers but also retain them. “We’ve got to retain teachers in the early part of their career. The data is clear that the greatest teacher turnover is in the first five years of the profession,” Kelly said.

Further Steps in the Budget Proposal

Furthermore, the budget also plans to extend the teacher pay schedule from 23 to 28 steps. This will ensure that veteran teachers are guaranteed additional raises later in their careers. However, it should be noted that this plan doesn’t guarantee a raise for every teacher in the state as some districts already pay above the new proposed minimums. Those districts might decide to allocate their additional funds to other areas, such as recruiting a school nurse.

The Final Budget Approval Still Pending

While there is a lot of excitement and anticipation surrounding this budget proposal, it must be remembered that it’s still in the early stages. The budget proposal needs to be approved by the whole of the House of Representatives, reconcile with the spending plan proposed and approved by the Senate, and then needs the governor’s sign-off.


Major Boost in Starting Salary for SC Teachers Proposed

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