CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Lawmakers in Columbia want to give teachers a $4,000 raise as part of the state’s budget, but local school districts would have to foot most of that bill.
Charleston County School District Interim Superintendent Don Kennedy says because of the way the state funds school districts, CCSD would have to pay around 70 percent of the cost.
“CCSD will receive an additional $6 million more than last year,” Kennedy said. “The cost to do the teacher salary is $19 million. Therefore the state is not funding 100 percent of those salaries.”
That’s a $13 million shortfall, the district would have to budget around.
The calculations done by Kennedy and his team show the situation is even more severe. He says if you add in the annual step increases and the state’s proposed increased to benefits, it’s actually closer to $25 million dollars or a $19 million shortfall.
The disparity between what the legislature is considering and what it’s covering has led to some districts in the state – like Greenville County Schools – saying they can’t afford the teacher raises.
Kennedy hasn’t said if he supports the legislature’s plan, but rather vowed to make it work if needed.
“I have been in finance most of my life and during that time period I have done a lot of budgets and this is something I always deal with,” Kennedy said. “Obviously, we will take a balanced budget to the school board for their approval in June.
Kennedy says he is going to be meeting with Charleston County state representatives to discuss the impact of those raises in the coming days.
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