A 3-percent raise for teachers is among the $25 million in additional cost included in Horry County School's proposed operations budget next year, which has to be finalized by the end of June.
The proposed raises include a 2-percent increase for all regular employees, including teachers, and another state-mandated 1 percent increase for all teachers.
The 2-percent increase for teachers is also state-mandated this year, as it has been most years, but the increase for all other regular employees is offered at the board's discretion.
Interim school board chair Neil James said he didn't know if the board would give a step increase to non-teachers.
"I think that’s a question we’ve always discussed in the past," James said. "I do not know the leaning of the board at this time."
The state is sending the district $11.7 million to cover the cost of teacher salary increases, which is a $2.7 million bump over last year, according to the budget.
The additional 1-percent raise, not counting the state-mandated 2 percent, will cost the district $1.7 million. All proposed salary increases will cost the district $6.9 million, according to Chief Financial Officer John Gardner, who said that the money doesn't cover all the costs, because part of the $11.7 million covers previous pay increases.
In addition, the proposed 1-percent pay increase is not a one-time expense, and district officials said it would permanently increase the district's pay schedule, which starts at a little over $36,000 for first-year teachers.
"Any time you give a salary increase, that’s with you from there going forward," said the interim school board chair. "So if we give a 1 percent, that becomes the baseline so next year we will be at that new baseline. So then [if] we start talking about giving an increase it’ll be on top of that new baseline. "
A final state budget hasn't been passed, and the district is basing it's budget projections on the existing version of the South Carolina state senate budget, which includes a 1-percent raise, although the state house version of the budget includes a raise of 2 percent on top of the 2-percent increases that teachers are already getting.
Gardner said the district is banking on the senate version because the final state budget "historically mirrored the senate version with minor exceptions."
Christian Boschult, 843-626-0218, @TSN_Christian