More money isn't the answer to every school need. But giving educators fair wages is essential to attracting and retaining the best for our students.
Last week the Charleston County School District announced pay raises totaling $8.4 million, most of it going to teachers and principals, who were earning less on average than their contemporaries in similar districts in the region.
In addition, the new pay scale is designed to treat employees within the district equitably. CCSD Superintendent Nancy McGinley said some principals of smaller high schools with only 140 students were earning more than a principal managing an elementary school with 1,100 students.
The new salary schedule will provide principals a base salary in accordance with the type and size of their schools.
Dr. McGinley said the district is particularly eager to offer principals and their assistants marketable salaries. It isn't unusual for school districts across the state and beyond to try to hire away good principals, she said, because they are the linchpins of education. They must be paid competitively, and the new salary schedule should do that.
Seventy-five percent of the increased compensation will go to school-based employees. District employees will also receive raises.
Those employees who are already earning salaries at the regional average will not see a pay hike.
A tax increase won't be required to accommodate the pay hikes.
Politicians like to promise they will improve public school education. People in business say that having an educated workforce is essential for recruiting new businesses. And taxpayers lament every time test scores show that some public schools continue to fail.
To deliver the educated workers and successful schools that will pull in jobs that pay well requires dedicated educators and guidance from a skilled administration.
Not only is it the right thing to do to compensate employees fairly, it is fiscally prudent in the long run.