Teachers upset in Sumter County pay schedule - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Teachers upset in Sumter County pay schedule

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A change in the pay schedule at Sumter County Schools has teachers questioning if they're getting shortchanged. Paychecks are already being corrected this week to reflect the step increase the district withheld but the state mandated.

District officials assured us while teachers' pay is behind, they're being paid correctly.

"It creates a distraction from what needs to be the focus and that's the students," said Roger Smith, executive director of the state Education Association.

Administrators asked the state school board about the issue, but was denied a waiver that would have prevented raises, so this Friday, teachers will finally get that increase, plus retro pay.

"We can ensure that they receive their full pay and we can also, help the teachers if they have any questions or any kind of concerns," said Smith.

Teachers again emailed the Education Association over the weekend when their pay schedule was suddenly revised.

"There have been some trying times inside the district that creates an atmosphere or environment where people feel they have to verify their information," said Smith.

When we questioned administrators, we were told the schedule was actually two years behind. It was never adjusted to fix the lack of a step increase in 2011-2012 and it was never adjusted to correlate years of experience to actual salary.  They admit, salaries are still one year behind, but now include the 2-percent increase given by the legislature.  The Education Association says they'll watch the situation carefully.

"We have staff assigned to monitor this," said Smith. "We actually have staff that live in Sumter that are working directly with this."

Superintendent Dr. Randolph Bynam now says earlier statements to the state board that he maybe forced to lay off teachers, wouldn't be done midyear.

Despite the superintendent's best efforts, he says the district will likely end the year in a deficit.

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