CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A group of Charleston County leaders and educators are calling on the school board to increase teacher salaries next school year.
On Thursday, the Charleston County School District Teacher Compensation Task Force held a roundtable discussion to share their next plan of action, in hopes of recruiting and retaining teachers.
“It’s time for a change. It’s a conversation that’s been going on for a really long time. The task force was really put together to be a voice to address it,” said William Briggman, CCSD’s Chief Human Resources Officer.
The group came up with two action items they are recommending the school board consider when planning the budget for next school year. The first recommendation is to increase the starting salary for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree to $58,000. A teacher at that level currently makes just over $43,000.
The group said this would increase salaries for all degree and experience levels.
“I don’t want to struggle and have to, like I said, work to live. I want to be able to live comfortably and know that I have finances supporting me,” said Terryn Whaley who is a first-year, second grade teacher at Ladson Elementary School.
The other proposal is to expand the salary schedule from Step 30 to Step 40, in an effort to retain teachers with 30+ years of experience.
“I mean we want experienced teachers who are there to also support and train our new teachers coming in. That’s really, really important,” said Briggman.
During the roundtable, teachers were given the opportunity to speak up about the struggles they face.
“My wife and I have not been able to save enough money to buy a house,” said Dave Bonezzi, a second-grade teacher at Carolina Park Elementary School.
The group is eager to present their requests to the Committee of the Whole Meeting on Monday, March 13.
“This is a robust proposal, it’s a bold proposal, and one that I feel like would certainly help remedy the teacher retention crisis that we’re in right now,” said Patrick Martin. Martin is an English teacher at the Charleston County School of the Arts. He’s also the founder of Lowcountry Teacher Advocates.
He’s encouraging community members to fill out this online survey, to show support for the task force’s goals.