State superintendent calls for teacher pay raise in South Carolina


South Carolina teachers could get a pay raise next school year, if the state superintendent has her way.

South Carolina Superintendent Molly Spearman believes higher wages might help a current teacher shortage. She’s requesting a 2 percent increase for all teachers, and is asking that starting teacher salary be raised to $32,000.

It’s something former teacher and current State Representative Mike Anthony of Union can get behind.

“I think this would encourage maybe younger people to look closer at the profession because we know there is a huge problem not only in our state but nationally with recruitment and retention of teachers.”

Right now, South Carolina sits below the average teacher salary in the Southeast. According to the State Department of Education the Southeastern average is $50,127. In South Carolina, that number sits at $48,769.

Representative Anthony said a 2 percent pay boost would help.

“We tried for years to stay up with the Southeastern average and I think it’s something that will get us close to it,” Anthony said.

Greenville County Schools say they back the push for higher teacher pay. Beth Brotherton is the Spokeswoman for the District.

“When you’re starting with a pool of candidates that’s getting smaller and then the ability to retain those teachers with noncompetitive pay, anytime you can get that pay to something that would keep teachers and attract teachers, that’s something we could support,” Brotherton said.

And while other legislators say, teachers do deserve higher wages, so do workers in other fields. Representative Michael Pitts of Laurens sits on the House Ways and Means Committee.

“I do understand that teachers need and deserve a pay raise, but so do all the other state employees. I chair the Budget Committee that oversees law enforcement and my priority would be law enforcement and correctional officers at this time, if we’re talking about a pay raise.”

The K-12 Subcommittee will be the first stop to reviewing the Department of Education’s budget. And then the proposal would go to the full House Ways and Means Committee.

FOX Carolina also got a statement from Superintendent Spearman about her proposal:

“South Carolina must provide additional support to our current and future educators if we want to retain high quality teachers and get more young people into the teaching profession. By raising our starting salary, as well as increasing funding for teachers across the board, we will combat recruitment and retention issues and put our state closer in line with neighboring states. I am committed to advocating for the needs of our teachers and working with the General Assembly to ensure both our students and teachers have the resources they need to be successful.”

– Molly Spearman, State Superintendent of Education

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