A fourth grade teacher in Charleston held a news conference at the State House Wednesday morning to criticize state lawmakers’ plan to give teachers a 2 percent raise -- saying it would still leave teachers two years behind their salary schedules.
Patrick Hayes, who teaches at Drayton Hall Elementary in Charleston, has formed a new group -- Restore Teacher Salaries -- and presented a petition of 7,000 signatures to House Minority Leader Harry Ott, D-Calhoun, Wednesday morning calling for higher teacher salaries.
Hayes used a fellow teacher, Lindsey Egloft, as an example. Egloft said she makes $36,679 teaching fifth grade at Drayton Hall Elementary. According to the salary schedule or her district -- given the credits she has earned in a Master’s degree program -- Egloft said she should be making $38,050.
Next year, with lawmakers’ 2 percent raise, Egloft said she would be making $37,360.
House lawmakers have an additional $1.1 billion to spend in next year’s budget. But half of that is one-time money, meaning it would not be available next year. Of the other half, lawmakers have given $152 million of it to increase teacher salaries, another $180 million to deepen the port of Charleston and another $350 million to the state’s Medicaid program, which provides health insurance to the poor and disabled.
When asked what he thought lawmakers should cut in order to give teachers a raise, Hayes turned the microphone over to Ott, who said he is proposing a 1 percent bonus for teachers next year, to be paid for out of the state’s reserve account.
Asked if that bonus was acceptable, Hayes said he knew lawmakers were “working hard to do everything they can.”
“I’m going to stop talking about this issue when I’m being paid the salary I was promised when I took the job,” Hayes said.