SC Senate approves postponed small raises for teachers

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A proposal that would pay South Carolina teachers the small annual raises that were postponed at the start of the school year because of economic uncertainty with the COVID-19 pandemic passed the Senate on Thursday.

Senators unanimously approved the retroactive “step raises,” which are increases of several hundred dollars a year teachers get for each year of service.

The Senate did make a few small changes in the bill, including making sure school nurses are included in the raises. That means the House, which originally approved it on a 118-0 vote on Jan. 28 will have to vote on it again.

The money would be given to teachers in a lump sum in June. The state is setting aside $50 million for the increases.

The House suspended the raises at the start of this school year because they were worried what the COVID-19 pandemic would do to state finances. They kept a promise to review that decision this year after taking more time to see the impact the virus had on the economy.

Step raises for next school year and any other possible increases in teacher pay will be taken up in the full state budget which the House will consider over the next few weeks.

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