Gov. McMaster calls for $3,000 raise for all South Carolina teachers

Governor says this will put SC among top 25 states for average teacher salary

CAYCE, S.C. (WOLO) —Teachers in public schools across South Carolina are one step closer to getting a pay raise.

Governor Henry McMaster (R-SC) announced more than 50,000 educators in all of the state’s public schools will receive a $3,000 pay raise in his proposed budget.

For some teachers, steady pay raises are not just about earning more money to do what they love. Instead, it allows them to mold the next generation without financial restraint.

“This $3,000 pay raise would make the difference for me to be able to get my Master’s degree right here in South Carolina, so that I could be a better teacher for today’s students and be prepared for tomorrow’s,” said Lauren Rawls, a kindergarten teacher at Cayce Elementary School.

If Gov. McMaster’s proposed budget is approved by lawmakers, South Carolina would be in the Top 25 among states when it comes to teacher salary. This proposal would cost $211 million to enforce. 

The proposal also represents a 26% growth in first-year teacher’s salary, rising from $30,000 to $38,000 over the last three years.

Gov. McMaster says this proposed pay raise is essential in order to recruit and retain teachers in the state.

“We have a lot of great people who want to go into one of the greatest professions, which is teaching, but they just can’t make it last. They don’t want to do it for the money, but they can’t do it without the money. In order for us to stay strong, we have to be competitive in our teaching. We must have the best classroom teachers anywhere in the country,” Gov. McMaster said.

With hundreds of teachers leaving the classroom over the past few years, state leaders say higher salaries are an encouraging factor to help bring more educators of tomorrow into the fold.

“I believe with this, we’ll start hearing young people say ‘I want to be a teacher’ and their parents won’t talk them out of it. People won’t say ‘oh, you can make more money doing something else.’ Teaching is so important, and we need people to come and be great teachers,” said Molly Spearman, the state’s Superintendent of Education.

If approved by the legislature, the average teacher salary in South Carolina would increase to $56,000, which is $2,000 more than the current average among Southeastern states.

Trav Robertson, the Chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party, released a statement, saying while a pay raise for teachers is always welcome, state leaders need “to couple teacher salary increases with increases across the board to fund and invigorate public schools in South Carolina. Our teachers have been tireless in the fight to fix our schools, and I am confident they will continue to fight for the schools our students deserve.”

The Senate Education Committee will be discussing their Education Reform Bill, which covers many things that teachers and some lawmakers have been advocating for over the past few years, on Thursday.

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