CCSD votes to rescind pay increase, still wants clarification of law

Charleston Co. School District Board members Michael Miller and Kevin Hollinshead hold a news conference Wednesday morning. (Source: Live 5)
Charleston Co. School District Board members Michael Miller and Kevin Hollinshead hold a news conference Wednesday morning. (Source: Live 5)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Charleston County School District Board voted Thursday to rescind a controversial pay raise voted on by members earlier this month.

The meeting came nearly a week after a lawsuit was filed challenging the board's legal authority to approve such a pay raise.

The four no votes on the motion to reverse the vote came from the same board members who voted for the raises on July 17: Michael Miller, Kevin Hollinshead, the Rev. Chris Collins and the Rev. Dr. Eric Mack.

Collins raised concerns after the vote that a second reading and vote would be necessary before the policy was officially reversed.

Members also said they still want a clarification of the law so they have a clear understanding of what the board is and is not authorized to do with respect to pay raises.

Miller and Hollinshead held a news conference Wednesday morning to speak about the vote, the backlash it has received from some in the public and a lawsuit filed late last week.

"Most of the constituents that I've heard from have not been opposed to the board receiving compensation," Miller said. "Moreso, they have questions about the manner in which it was done."

Miller called for a judge to make a declaratory judgment from a circuit court judge on the legality of the raise the board voted to approve on July 17. He said the vote was an attempt to rectify a policy that was put in place in 1967.

The vote gave CCSD Board members a raise of $14,428 per year. The board also voted to give constituent board members a pay increase of more than $7,000 a year.

The raises were to become effective immediately, but Hollinshead said Wednesday the raise has not yet been implemented.

The suit, filed Friday by taxpayer Marc Knapp, named both the CCSD Board of Trustees and Supt. Dr. Geritta Postelwait and alleges the board acted outside its legal authority when it voted for the raises.

The suit also claims the raises will be paid out of tax revenues and since the district has not budgeted for the raises, the money would be taken from other funds necessary to educate students. The suit specifically mentions Title 2 money as a possible target, adding removing money from that source is something the board has "consistently done."

The suit seeks a temporary restraining order preventing the raises from being paid to board members or constituent board members, a temporary and final injunction against disbursing the money unless it is done according to state law, court costs and attorney fees, and an order requiring board members repay any portion of the raises they received before a restraining order or injunction is set in place.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 4:15 p.m., but the first item on the agenda appears to be an executive session.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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