South Carolina teachers could see a big pay increase

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - South Carolina teachers could see a pay increase if a newly filed bill becomes law.

South Carolina State Senator Karl Allen prefiled a bill last month that proposes all teachers be paid the national average.

According to the National Education Association, the average teacher salary across the country is $60,483. In South Carolina the average teacher salary is $51,027.

Last month teachers took personal days to advocate at the statehouse for education reform.

“I think we’ve always just said,'Yeah we know' and went along with it. Now when we’re seeing there’s such a teacher shortage and we’re all working several jobs and living paycheck to paycheck that now we need to do something,” Dorchester District 2 teacher Kirsten Bowman said. “The best of the best teachers are leaving.”

Allen said the salary would be part of the teacher’s pay increase and would be based on the teacher’s education. He said a bill like this is a long time coming.

“It is the best thing that can happen to education in South Carolina,” Allen said. “It’s a win-win for students and teachers to do what we should have done a long time ago in South Carolina for education.”

Bowman moved to South Carolina to be closer to family and friends and said in doing so she took a major pay cut.

“I didn’t really feel the impact of the financial aspect until I was really knee deep in teaching and literally living paycheck to paycheck and working side jobs in the summer,” Bowman said. “I am probably not making what I made almost 20 years ago in Maryland and the cost of living in Maryland was comparable at the time.”

Bowman said she loves her job and her district, but just wishes they were properly paid. She said even if the bill passes and she does make more, she will still work just as hard.

“It’s not going to make me teach better. I’m going to teach 200% every day, but I’m still broke in the end,” Bowman said.

Live 5 News has reached back out to Allen to see where potential funding would come from to increase teacher salaries.

The bill would have to make it through the statehouse before it would go into law.

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