Horry County School Board officially approves pay raise

Horry County School Board officially approves pay raise

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The Horry County School Board will officially get a pay raise after passing the second and final public reading regarding that salary bump at Monday's meeting.

State law dictated that the board's salary increase can only become effective after those two public readings that must be at least three weeks apart. The vote was six in favor of the raise, four opposed and one who abstained.

Ray Winters, Neil James, John Poston and Chris Hardwick were the four opposing votes.

"I think the pay was sufficient as it is," said Winters, who represents District 3.

Winters also said he felt he couldn't vote for a raise during his first term.

Chairman Joe DeFeo, who was in favor of the raise, said he thinks the additional money will help encourage a wider variety of people to run for the school board.

"This job should not be about only people that can afford to be in this job," he said.

The first public reading passed on Feb. 6 by a seven-to-three vote. It was followed by a public comment period on Feb. 20.

Defeo will make 20 percent more than the rest of the board. He will receive a bump in pay of over $5,000.

The rest of the board will receive an increase from $9,600 a year to nearly $15,900.

DeFeo previously said this would make Horry County Schools board members the highest-paid in the state. He added the majority of people he heard from were in favor of the raise.

Winters said he got a variety of feedback.

"I've had people tell me they were not opposed and I've had plenty of people that were opposed as well," he said. "It has been a mixed bag of responses."

Their yearly salaries will now match those of Horry County Council members, but school board members voted to amend the original motion Monday to no longer tie their salaries to those of council members in the future.

"We're an autonomous governmental body under state law and to have their actions have any effect on our future, whether it be positive or negative, just didn't seem appropriate," Winters said.

Winters suggested the change even though he voted against the pay raise.

Pam Timms made the motion to amend the original ordinance, which then passed 10 to zero, with one member abstaining.

The Human Resources Committee is looking strongly at district employees' salaries by considering a salary study, which will compare their pay with other large school districts in the state and also public employers in the county.

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