Since the Horry County school board’s increased involvement in the district, graduation rates have improved — but not as much as districts with school boards that earn less.
Some Horry County school board members argue that their increased involvement in the district necessitates a 66 percent pay raise from $9,600 per year to $15,966 that would make them the highest paid in South Carolina.
A Sun News analysis of graduation rates show rates have improved since 2012 — the year before the school board implemented standing committees — but districts with lesser-paid school boards across the state have improved more.
For example in Charleston, where the school board earns at most $1,250 per year, the graduation rate has improved from 75.5 percent in 2012 to 83.02 percent today.
In 2012, the Horry County school district’s graduation rate ranked No. 39 out of 83 South Carolina public school district at 77.3 percent, according to the district’s state report card.
The graduation rate has improved to 80.51 percent, but its ranking in the state compared to other districts has dropped. The district now ranks No. 63 in graduation rates out of 81 public school districts according to the 2016 report card.
In Greenville — the state’s largest district — graduation rates have improved from 72.4 percent in 2012 to 87.51 percent in 2016.
Board members in Greenville make $10,749 per year. They’ll be the second-highest paid in the state if Horry County’s school board approves its pay raise.
District spokeswoman Teal Britton said Horry County’s lower ranking is due in part to students leaving the district before graduation without providing the district proof of enrollment in another school, but she couldn’t say how much it affected the district’s ranking.
South Carolina’s state report card also details the percentage of students who passed their end-of-course exams.
In 2013, 78.9 percent of students in Horry County passed their end of course exams. They ranked 19 out of the 85 districts.
In 2016, the percentage had increased to 85.6, and the district now ranks No. 8 out of the 81 districts. However, the seven top-scoring districts have unpaid boards.
1. Fort Mill: 95.2 percent passing. Board Pay: None.
2. Spartanburg 1: 88.7 percent passing. Board Pay: None.
3. Lexington 1: 88.5 percent passing. Board Pay: None.
4. York 2 (Clover): 88.4 passing. Board Pay: None.
5. Spartanburg 5: 87.4 percent passing. Board Pay: None.
6. Florence 5: 86.5 percent passing. Board Pay: None.
7. Spartanburg 4: 86.1 percent passing. Board Pay: None.
8. Horry County Schools: 85.6 percent passing. Board Pay: $9,600 per year, pending potential increase.
9. Lexington / Richland 5: 85.5 percent passing. Board Pay: $9,600 per year.
10. Anderson 1: 85.2 percent passing. Board Pay: None.
Christian Boschult, 843-626-0218, @TSN_Christian