Horry County school board votes against pay raise for some employees for next year

Horry County Schools employees who have reached the top of their pay scale will not receive a pay increase for 2014-15, according to a vote taken Monday by the Horry County school board.

The school board, with little discussion, approved the first reading of it’s more than $560 million budget minus two items that had separate votes – $1.7 million for a 2 percent salary increase for employees who are not eligible for a STEP increase, and about $352,000 for curriculum work done by teachers during the summer.

The board unanimously voted to approve the budget’s first reading, but voted 9-1 against the salary increase. Vice Chairman Neil James was the lone person voting in favor of the increase, saying those employees are just as entitled to more pay as others. Some board members, however, said employees knew from the beginning of their tenure that they only have 28 STEPS, and Chairman Joe DeFeo said most districts only give 23 STEPS.

Employees who are not eligible for a STEP increase did not receive an adjustment in compensation this year. The $564.8 million budget retains about $3.6 million to cover STEP increases for the 75 percent of district employees who are eligible based on their years of experience.

A vote on the $352,000 was tabled until the board receives more information at the next meeting. It is supposed to pay teachers who work on curriculum and assessment work for English language arts, math, science and social studies during the summer, but there were questions as to why it is a recurring cost.

The budget requires two readings and must be approved finally by the end of June.