South Carolina’s Senate unveiled its plan for the next fiscal’s budget on the floor Monday.
State Sen. Harvey Peeler, R-Cherokee, said education funding has some issues that get attention. “We tried to accomplish this year three main goals: buses, try to slow down the rate of tuition increases of our higher education institutions, and start a conversation on deferred maintenance,” he said in the Senate Monday afternoon.
New teachers’ salaries would go up under the plan. “It increases the starting salary of teachers, the minimum starting salary of teachers, which is now $30,000, to $32,000,” State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw, said. Most districts in South Carolina use local money to pay teachers above the state minimum, but roughly a dozen districts are under the $32,000 threshold for new teachers.
Current teachers would also get a one percent raise under the Senate version. However, the House’s budget plan would increase current teachers’ salaries by two percent. A conference committee of both chambers will likely determine the ultimate increase amount teachers will actually get before a final version goes to the governor.
Some of the aging school buses in the state’s fleet would be replaced in the Senate budget. “$17.2 million to buy about 200 new buses,” Peeler said. Some of the buses in the state’s fleet are 30 years old and others are a model prone to fires.