Retired S.C. police officers soon could return to work and be exempted from the state's $10,000 cap on the salary that working retirees can be paid.
But only if those officers return to work as a school resource officer.
The S.C. House is set to amend the state's $8.2 billion general fund budget Wednesday, sending it to the Senate. House leaders hope to attach a one-year law that allows certified frontline police officers, who retired before December 2017, to return to work as SROs and be exempted from the state's $10,000 limit on earnings.
"We have people, right now, who are qualified, who are willing to come back to work," Jarrod Bruder, head of the S.C. Sheriffs' Association, told senators in March. "But they are sitting at home because they retired, and they are subject to a $10,000 salary cap.”
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For many parents, putting an SRO in every S.C. school has become a priority since 17 students and teachers at a Florida high school were killed by a gunman on Valentine's Day.
Currently, about 590 of the state's 1,195 public schools do not have an armed officer.
The House is set to add $2 million to its proposed state budget to help some of the state's poorest school districts hire and train SROs — an increase supported by McMaster.
That cost now falls on local school districts, local governments, county sheriff's departments and their taxpayers.
House Majority Leader Gary Simrill, R-York, said Monday attaching a one-year SRO law to the state's budget can be looked at as a pilot program, potentially paving the way for permanent legislation next year.
The state's budget takes effect July 1.