By Senator Kent Williams
As many of you are likely aware, the starting pay for South Carolina’s teachers has been lower than many states for many years. The average teacher salary in South Carolina is around $50,000, which is the 39th lowest in the country, and nearly $8,000 below the national average pay of around $58,000. Our starting teacher pay is similarly paltry; we only pay new teachers $36,000, which is unacceptable.
Our hardworking state employees have also received the short end of the stick in recent years when it comes to pay.
The average pay for state employees is around $43,000, which is far lower than South Carolina’s average salary of nearly $63,000.
This pay disparity clearly shows we are not rewarding our state employees nearly enough for the work they do for our state.
Despite all of this, I am incredibly optimistic about changes to this year’s budget that will directly benefit South Carolina’s teachers and state employees. Under the budget that was passed by the House of Representatives this week, the starting pay for teachers will increase from $36,000 to $40,000 – an 11% increase. Additionally, all state employees will receive a 3% pay raise, as well as a $1500 bonus. I cannot wait to support these changes as the budget moves to the Senate, and I look forward to giving our teachers and state employees the support they so desperately need.
As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the House Ways and Means budget plan so that we may begin the process of passing a budget through the Senate. Rest assured, my focus is making sure that our teachers and state employees get the pay increases they were promised by the House’s version of the budget. It’s past time that we reward our hardworking state employees and teachers for the incredible work that they do in the Pee Dee.
As with all matters concerning state government, I want to hear your opinions and suggestions concerning these issues. Please contact me at my Columbia office located at 602 Gressette Office Building. You can reach me, or a member of my staff in Columbia at (803) 212-6008 or by fax at (803) 212-6011. My district office is located at 2523 East Highway 76, Marion, SC 29571, the phone number is (843) 423-8237 and the fax number is (843) 431-6049. You may also email me at KENTWILLIAMS@scsenate.gov.
My business phone is (843) 423-3904. Please use this information to write, call or email me with your suggestions and concerns regarding issues before the Senate and in our community.
By Senator Kent Williams