Bill Would Raise Average Pay for SC Teachers

7:18 PM, Jan 21, 2014   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- A new bill aims to put South Carolina teachers on the same level as those in other states when payday rolls around.

Richland County Senator Darrell Jackson has proposed the legislation with Republican Senator Raymond Cleary of Georgetown.

The bill would raise teacher salaries until South Carolina reaches the national average.

"Everything starts with teachers, everything starts with our students," said Craig King with the Palmetto State Teacher's Association.

He says teachers should be recognized for what they do inside and outside the classroom.

"All that they do throughout the school day, as well as what they do off the scene as well for the betterment of their kids," said King.

That is why he is always interested in anything that could better compensate educators in South Carolina.

According to the South Carolina Department of Education at the end of the 2012-2013 school year the average teacher in South Carolina made $48,375 a year. The department says the national average came in at $56,383 according to info from the state Budget and Control Board.

Jackson says to focus on education, we need to begin with teachers.

"Right now we're almost $10,000 below the national average. This would get us to the national average so that we won't continue to lose teachers to Georgia, North Carolina and other states," said Jackson.

The newly introduced bill would adjust the salaries of public school teachers over a five year period until the pay is above or equal to the national average.

The data would come from the state's Office of Research and Statistics.

"It allows us to fit it within the budget without putting strain on the current budget, and I think quite honestly, that is why it has garnered bipartisan support," said Jackson.

He says right now there are four democrats and four republicans backing the bill.

King and the Palmetto State Teacher's Association have not had a chance to review the new bill, but they do stand behind supporting those who educate our state's children.

"Teachers do deserve it. They mold our future, that's a cliché statement but it's so true," said King.

The bill would require the change to take effect in the 2014-2015 fiscal year.

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