Senate to consider teacher raises in state budget

VIDEO: Senate to consider teacher raises in state budget

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina teachers could see a small pay raise if the 2020-2021 budget is approved.

The state senate will be considering the spending plan next week.

On Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee approved a budget bill which includes a $50 million increase to the EFA, which will allow school districts to fund step increases for teachers. Those “step increases” are yearly pay raises given to teachers as they gain experience.

In the spring, lawmakers decided to freeze the pay raises due to the pandemic. Since then, organizations like the Palmetto Teachers Association have been pushing to restore the raises.

“While our state is facing a current crisis with the pandemic, we have an ongoing crisis of teacher supply,” said Patrick Kelly, PSTA director of Governmental Affairs. “We need to make sure that our salaries remain competitive and are raised to a competitive level against the southeast so that we can ensure that our students have access to teachers.”

Although many people are considering this a step in the right direction, teachers like Trever Etminan say that more needs to be done.

“The downside of this is the proposal only offers step increases to a certain number of years, so I think the next best thing is for people to reach out and advocate for a 2 percent increase to all teachers who are in the classroom regardless of their years of experience,” Etminan said.

The full senate will meet on Tuesday, Sept. 15 to discuss the budget.

The proposal could fall through if the House does not pass a budget bill.

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