Teacher pay raise proposal is 'top priority'

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Pay raises for teachers and extended school years are hot topics in budget discussions for the Charleston County School Board this year. On Monday, CCSD Superintendent Dr. Nancy McGinley says the two proposals are worth fighting for.
"We're talking about a full cost of living increase and a two year adjustment to the teacher STEPs," said McGinley, who says the cost of the proposal would be approximately $12 million.

McGinley says the pay raises are a top priority because teachers and staff on every level have missed out on a pay raise in the last two years.

"We can't keep asking our teachers to sacrifice and work harder on behalf of our children," says the superintendent. "They are really absorbing those cuts in their own family."

The STEP program raises, which are based on a teachers experience and how it's reflected in their salary, would be retroactive for the time they went without a raise.

"Teachers are doing a wonderful job," says Calvin Goodwater whose son goes to Mitchell Elementary School in downtown Charleston.

"They work hard, they put up with a whole lot," says Goodwater. "They do deserve a pay raise, all the teachers do."

Dr. McGinley is also proposing a mandatory summer semester that would last 20 days for the district's lowest performing schools that fall in the Innovation Zone.

"If we're going to move all children to a level of excellence," said McGinley, "We know summer is starting further behind and they're going to need additional time in the classroom with great teachers."

The changes are only ideas until more input is returned from the school board later in the month.

"The next step is for us to go back and sharpen our pencils and figure out where funding can come from," said Dr, McGinley.

Today's proposals will be drafted and made into official recommendations for the Charleston County school board when budget talks get underway at the end of February.

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