SC lawmakers want to see increase in teacher pay - - Columbia, South Carolina |

SC lawmakers want to see increase in teacher pay

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Last week, Governor Nikki Haley introduced plans to reform education in South Carolina with a $160 million cash infusion.

But critics of her plan from both parties say one crucial component was missing from the proposal: teacher salaries.

South Carolina has some of the lowest teacher salaries in the nation according to the national education association.

Now at least three different lawmakers have or are planning to introduce legislation to increase teacher salaries.

"I think the governor had a lot of good proposals," said State Rep. Jimmy Bales

Lawmakers and educations alike said the governor is missing the mark by omitting one crucial point when it comes to improving education in impoverished areas.

"We have always talked about, that if you're going to have teachers go into these areas, that we have got to look at teacher pay and raise that teacher pay," said Jackie Hicks with the South Carolina Education Association.

The average teacher salary in South Carolina is roughly $47,000, which is the 32nd lowest in the country.

"In the past decade, we've found, pulling in the inflation factor, teacher salaries have gone down 7 percent," Hicks said.

At least three state house bills aim to increase the salary rate to at least the regional average.

"That'll be about a $10,000 increase for teachers per year," said State Rep. Jimmy Bales.

Earlier this week the governor defended her education plan referring to a recent one percent pay increase.

"Last year they got pay increases, I think the year before there may have been some pay increases," Haley said. "So it's not a given, it's not every year we have to do it."

Education advocates said they hope election year agendas don't ultimately get in the way of improving education.

"Instead of making a good sound bite, let's truly work on something that's going to retain and attract teachers to this state," Hicks said.

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