Teacher raises and mental health funding approved for 2020 budget in SC


Summer break is here and a pay raise is on the way for South Carolina teachers. Earlier this month, teachers protested across the state. This week, lawmakers responded with education funding in the 2020 budget. 

Pay raises were one of the main things teachers asked for during protests. They also wanted more resources to help children with mental health issues. This week, money was approved for both of those things. There is also an education reform bill in the works for the future. 

Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette spoke to a group in Aiken about pay raises for teachers.

“We turn out these great teachers, but unfortunately we end up losing them to Georgia or North Carolina because they pay more. We knew we had to fix that and that happened this year,” Lt. Gov. Evette said. “That was a huge legislative win  for  the entire state of South Carolina.”

This week Governor Henry McMaster approved $159 million for teacher raises and the increase of starting salaries. Also, $65 million to help bring businesses to the poorest districts and $2 million to add mental health counselors to schools.

“Schools that are rural will have access through telemental health, which I think is really important,” Lt. Gov. Evette said.

Also this legislative session, a massive education reform bill went from the house to the senate. The legislation aims to transform the way South Carolina educates in the future.

“Right you have early education, you have K-12 and you have higher education and everybody looks at it inside their lane, but they don’t look at it all as one unit,” Lt. Gov. Evette explains. 

The Lieutenant Governor is part of an effort to change what she called “the status quo.” 

“Are things that are happening in early education, is that really being impactful in K-12?” Lt. Gov. Evette asked the crowd rhetorically. “f it’s not, then let’s change it. If something that’s happening in K-12 isn’t being impactful for higher education then let’s change it. Let’s not just keep going down a road to no where.”

Senators could vote on the education reform bill as early as January of next year.

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