Teachers could see smaller paychecks

Columbia, SC - COLUMBIA, SC (AP) - Teachers across South Carolina could see their paychecks reduced next school year.

A bill approved Tuesday by a House subcommittee would allow districts to suspend salary step increases for teachers to save jobs. That's in addition to legislation letting districts send teachers home for up to five days without pay.

Under the state's minimum salary schedule, teacher salaries rise for each year of experience in the classroom, up to 22 years. They also get increases for earning a higher education degree. Some districts also pay more than the state's minimum salary schedule.

But the legislation allows districts to skip all of those increases for the 2010-11 school year.

Kathy Maness of the Palmetto Teachers Association says she understands the problems, but says teacher morale is the lowest she's seen.

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