Charleston, S.C. (WCIV) — In a 7-2 vote The Charleston County School Board members passed a $507.7 million budget for next school year.
Reverend Chris Collins and Mike Miller voted no.
Miller said he's concerned about the increase in taxes.
"If we're increasing taxes, what results are we looking for, what desired results academically are we looking for?"
A concern other board members have as well.
Cindy Coats asked questions about the tax mileage increase, but ultimately voted in favor of approving the budget.
"While there was the increase in mileage, I think that was a good use of it. I also think in this budget, staff did a phenomenal job of tracing every new dollar back to where he expects it to be spent.”
Over the next two years, the salary for first year teachers in the Charleston County School District will go from $36,700 to $40,000 a year. That’s a $2.7 million investment.
Coats added, "If we're going to expect education to be a profession, then we have to pay teachers to be a profession."
The new budget also shows a $1.4 million investment to pay math teachers more.
School board Chairwoman, Kate Darby, said, "We're having a really hard time recruiting math teachers, so we wanted to raise our starting pay to $40,000 a year which we're doing over the course of two years, but also, that increases everybody's pay in the pay range."
Another change in the budget is funding for school resource officers for every elementary school. It's a request Darby said she received after the deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida.
"Our security team went out and really assessed what we were doing in all of our schools and what we heard from people, parents, is we want SRO's, school resource officers, in all of our schools. We had them in middle and high, we didn't have them in all of our elementary schools," she said. That is a $2.2 million investment.
Darby said, “We put funding in the budget to ensure we pay a portion and then the different municipalities and the county will pay a portion. So, our goal is to have an SRO in every single school.”