DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) -
Teachers in Dorchester District 2 are going to see a bigger paycheck after district officials said they will receive back pay for not getting a state-issued salary increase.
This comes after DD2 failed to pay teachers more money that was approved in the South Carolina state budget.
Chief Financial Officer for Dorchester District 2 Allyson Duke said the district's budget was approved in the middle of June, it was later in the month the state approved its budget.
"At the end of June, the legislature approved their budget, in there was a proviso that teachers receive a minimum 1% increase," Duke said.
Duke said after the state approved its budget there was confusion over what the increase meant.
"We interpreted that as meaning a 1% regardless of the step or where they fell on the salary schedule. We have been told and received clarification it should have been 1% on top of what their step was for the previous year," Duke said.
A teacher who works in the district said teachers have been emailing district officials for a while asking when, or if, they will receive their pay increase.
Duke said the pay increase will average $300-$400 per teacher before taxes.
Duke said she too had heard of teachers asking the superintendent and school board members about it but said the district didn't have clarification.
We asked Duke why the superintendent didn't try to get clarification immediately.
"I think reading back over it again there was still that interpretation it was a little grey how it was worded," Duke responded. "Yes, we should have gone ahead and gotten it. We've all apologized for that, it shouldn't have taken as long. We will make that clarification and make that adjustment."
The clarification came on Thursday when DD2 Superintendent Joe Pye was at a conference and realized a correction needed to be made. That's when Duke said the district put a plan in place to rectify it.
"We feel really bad because we know our teachers work hard and they deserve, we want to pay them a lot more if we weren't restricted by the amount of monies we have we would," Dukes said.
"This was certainly not intentional, and we want to make it right and we've learned from it and we will do everything we can. I can promise you in in the budget process for next year the number one priority will be our teachers and get their salary where they need to be because we're falling behind now," Duke said.
It will cost the district about a million dollars, with benefits, Duke said to make the correction and pay the increased salary.
Teachers will see the increase and the back pay from the last month and on their end of September paycheck.
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