Some longtime Horry County Schools employees will not be getting raises this year, though the superintendent has urged the Board of Education to recognize “valuable” employees with greater compensation, or risk losing them.
The district’s human resources committee voted against a 2 percent pay raise for employees at top of the pay scale for their position, Grade 28, which includes some principals and district personnel. District staff – who do not have the authority to vote – urged the committee to reconsider with hopes of keeping their best and brightest employees from looking elsewhere.
You can have a principal out there at the top of the pay scale, and we have to tell them that they’re not going to make any more. That’s what you have to take into consideration.
John Gardner, chief financial officer
David Cox, chairman of the committee and board of education member, said the district can take up a pay raise discussion again next year.
“I personally think we should postpone this for a year, especially depending on the budget,” Cox said.
The district is currently planning to be $5 million over next year’s budget, though the official total is “still a moving target,” according to Chief Financial Officer John Gardner. The district is planning for a 2 percent raise or step increase for all eligible staff – which may be mandated by the state – which will total about $1.8 million, Gardner said.
The board has been tossing around a longevity pay raise discussion for several years but ultimately postponed any further action. Rick Maxey, superintendent, said it’s important to compensate employees – even if they’re at the top of their pay scale.
“We need to think about what we can do financially, because we want to keep the best people,” Maxey said.
Staff who have climbed the ladder over the years may feel stymied by stagnant wages, Maxey said, and may move to higher-paying districts. Others, who may have started on a higher pay grade due to their position (principals, chiefs of staff, etc.) aren’t ready to retire and will look for opportunities elsewhere.
I don’t like the word postpone; I just think we should say no. It’s going to come up again next year, and we can re-evaluate this situation at that time.
Pam Timms, Horry County Board of Education member
Gardner said the board should consider rewarding employees who haven’t received raises in a few years, especially if they’ve helped “elevate” the district.
Joe DeFeo, board chairman who is not on the committee, said he wanted a salary study to determine if current employees deserve the amount they’re paid. The study should also determine if incoming high-level employees, such as principals, should start on the Grade 28 pay scale. Maxey, superintendent, immediately reminded the committee of the district’s awards and accomplishments.
“Horry County Schools has gotten to where it is because of the people who worked in its system, and it’s important to value them,” he said.
Claire Byun: 626-0381, @Claire_TSN