Charleston Co. School District approves $12.4 million in teachers raises

Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 3:09 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 29, 2021 at 6:40 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston County School District has approved a $618.3 million general operating budget for the 2021-2022 school year, including more than $12 million for teachers. The school board adopted the plan at the meeting held on Monday.

Among the changes from last year include a series of increases for teachers. Teachers can expect a step increase as well as a $1,000 salary increase mandated by the state. In addition, there’s a 1.2% COLA increase slated to take effect.

Jody Stallings with the Charleston Teacher Alliance says these increases are welcome news to the teachers who have been on the front lines of pandemic education over the last year.

“Teachers in Charleston County were in those classrooms every single day and that took a lot of fortitude. It took a lot of hard work, a lot of effort. We had to adapt to a lot and I think that probably had a lot to do with their desire to compensate teachers,” Stallings said.

The increases are expected to total $12.4 million. At Monday’s public meeting, CCSD Chief Financial and Administrative Officer Donald Kennedy said the state is expected to pick of the tab for about half of the $4.7 million it will cost to give teachers the $1,000 raise.

“Well, I think they did a good job for teachers. I think this district has shown recently a real concern for teachers and wanting to compensate us fairly for the job that we do,” Stallings said. “So we were very, very happy that they chose to give raises.”

The CTA has been pushing CCSD to add additional salary steps to the pay scale to help teachers with more than 25 years of experience. The new budget creates a 26th step and potentially paves the way for several more in the coming years.

“Step increases end at about 25 years. That puts a lot of teachers, not even sometimes 50 years old in a bad spot where they’re not looking at another raise for the duration of their careers. We just don’t think that’s very fair,” Stallings said. “We were very happy that the district is making a commitment to raising that.”

This final budget shifted slightly from earlier versions as projections changed over the last few months. The current budget is about $5 million more than its first iteration in May. Despite a projected drop in enrollment by 833 students, the budget is $32.3 million more than last year’s budget.

The budget includes a tax increase of roughly 3% to certain business and homeowners. You can find the full budget presented at Monday’s meeting here.

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