NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – A new bill in South Carolina would allow teachers to get paid for unused annual leave and sick leave.
Senator Greg Hembree of North Myrtle Beach is the bill’s primary sponsor and believes it could be a solution for South Carolina’s teacher retention and recruitment issues.
“If you’ve got a teacher that’s been there a long time, he or she might take off every other Friday for a whole year,” said Hembree. “The losers in that are the kids because that’s a lot of learning they’re not getting.”
The bill says once teachers accrue 90 days of leave they could get paid for days they don’t take off at the rate of a substitute teacher. Right now in Horry County, substitute teachers make between $60-80 a day, according to this chart.
“It won’t cost anything [extra] because you’ve got to pay for the substitute anyway,” said Hembree. “So it’s a break-even proposition for the taxpayers. And for the kids it’s a plus because the teacher stays in the classroom.”
Hembree said lawmakers have tried to fix the retention and recruitment issues by raising salaries but admits it hasn’t been effective.
“We’ve been raising their salary by dribs and drabs for a long time,” said Hembree. “Hasn’t had any affect at all. Unless you’re going to raise salaries 30%, some life-changing money which we can’t afford to do, it’s not going to help.” He hopes this bill can be a part of the solution.
“It’s money in their pocket they didn’t expect to get and, you know, it costs the same thing [as] what it costs us now and the kids win,” added Hembree.
If the bill passes it would still be up to local school boards to decide if they want to implement the program in their district.
The bill says the following people would be able to take advantage of the program if it passed: Noncertified public school teachers, certified special school classroom teachers, certified media specialists, certified guidance counselors, and career specialists who are employed by a school district or a charter school.
You can read the full bill by clicking: here.