Charleston County School Board recurring (copy) (copy)

Members of the Charleston County School Board could soon make $9,600 a year after state lawmakers gave them the go-ahead to raise their own pay. Gov. Henry McMaster vetoed the bill, but legislators overrode the veto on Thursday, June 28. File/Leroy Burnell/Staff

Overriding a veto from Gov. Henry McMaster on Thursday, state lawmakers gave the Charleston County School Board the go-ahead to raise its pay.

The nine elected board members currently make $25 per meeting, one of the lowest rates among South Carolina's large school districts. The new law lets them vote on a new pay rate, which would take effect only after the Nov. 6 election.

The new law caps any pay increase at $9,600 per year for members and $10,800 for the chair. Horry County School Board members make $16,000 a year, the most of any in the state.

Proponents of raising the board's pay, such as member Kevin Hollinshead, have said it would encourage more people to consider running for the board.

"We need to do a better job of attracting better candidates," he said Friday.

Some school board members have sought a pay raise for years. The Rev. Chris Collins and then-member Elizabeth Moffly called for a $15,000 pay rate in 2011, but the idea fizzled out.

Last summer, Collins, Hollinshead, the Rev. Eric Mack and Michael Miller voted for a $14,000 pay rate — only to have the board rescind the raise weeks later. Board members backed off after they received a legal challenge and a letter from state Sen. Chip Campsen, R-Isle of Palms, and Rep. Wendell Gilliard, D-Charleston, warning that the board may have violated state law.

Instead, local lawmakers backed Senate Bill 1160 to allow the pay raise this year, but McMaster vetoed it May 19. Lawmakers overrode that veto Thursday by a 70-15 vote in the House and 37-0 in the Senate. 

Reach Paul Bowers at 843-937-5546. Follow him on Twitter @paul_bowers.