Charleston teachers begin fight to restore salaries

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Teachers in the Charleston County school district are beginning a campaign for raises.

"Teacher appreciation week is coming. This year don't say it in a card, don't say it with flowers, say it in the budget," said Patrick Hayes a teacher and organizer of Restore Teacher Salaries.

Hayes presented the school board with a petition of more than 4,000 signatures of tax payers who agree with removing a two-year salary freeze.  The district imposed the salary freeze back in 2010 to make up a $34-million deficit.

"Our lives have moved on but our salaries have not. Others profited during boom times, we were stuck on the schedule as agreed. But when hard times came the deal was null and void," said Hayes.

Hayes said he and other teachers have done more with less.

District Superintendent Dr. Nancy McGinley said teacher raises are her number one priority.

"We're in a fight for human talent. We need competitive salaries or we're going to lose our best asset and that's our people, our teachers, our principals and I support 100% the restoration of the teachers salaries.

McGinley said the district has recruited some of the best educators to come and teach. An estimate of 12 million would be needed to make those raises a reality.

"We have to make that a top priority or were going to take steps backwards instead of forward. The board is very much behind vision 2016. Accelerating our goals that only happens if we have a great teacher in every classroom," said McGinley.

The board is expected to vote on the new budget sometime early this summer.

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