Controversial school board raise denied; Member opposes raise, resigns

Mary Ann Taylor
Mary Ann Taylor

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A member of the Charleston County School Board stepped down in disgust Monday over a proposed 2,400 percent pay raise for all members of the board. That proposal was shut down at Monday night's board meeting.

Mary Ann Taylor didn't attend the meeting, but sent a resignation letter explaining her decision.

"The last straw for me was an offensive proposal to give ourselves a $15,000 salary," she said. "It's disgusting that we are even debating giving ourselves a huge raise instead of addressing real issues that need our attention. The children and the taxpayers of Charleston County deserve better."

The proposed pay raise was the last item on the school board's agenda. The proposal included a $15,000 salary for members, which is up from the $600 a year board members are paid now.

"The vast majority of the Board has no interest in doing what's best for the children of Charleston County, only in promoting their own personal interests," Taylor said. "As a lifelong classroom teacher holding a principal's certification, I can no longer be a part of a Board committed to helping themselves rather than educating our children."

Committee chairwoman Elizabeth Moffly and vice chairman Chris Collins brought up the proposal. Collins says the goal is to adjust for outdated pay that hasn't been adjusted since the 1960's.

Collins says despite the defeat, he plans on bringing up the pay raise proposal again.

School officials say people will likely be asked to apply for Taylor's seat and the Charleston County legislative delegation would select an appointee. Their recommendation would then go to Gov. Nikki Haley, who would make the final decision on who would serve until the general election next November.

South Carolina's 85 school districts vary in what board members are paid. Thirty-one pay nothing.

The highest paid board members are in Horry County where they make $9,600 per year.  The chairman makes $13,400.

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