SC schools chief grilled for not seeking increase

COLUMBIA, SC (AP) - South Carolina Education Superintendent Mick Zais is being criticized by House Democrats for not seeking more money for teacher pay.

Zais asked a Ways and Means panel Wednesday not to cut a key funding stream for classrooms, but he did not ask for an increase. The so-called base student cost primarily pays teacher salaries. The current per-student allocation is about $1,900 because of recession budget cuts. A state funding formula calls for it to be nearly $2,800 this year.

House Minority Leader Harry Ott blasted Zais, repeatedly asking whether he's telling teachers they should go a fourth year without a raise.

The Republican superintendent says he's not sure the money is available, and legislators can provide more than he is requesting. Ott says Zais needs to make the request.

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