CLINTON (WATE) – The Anderson County Commission approved an 8-cent property tax increase Monday night to pay for a 1.75 percent pay raise for county teachers. The vote also included another 2 cents in property tax increase to pay for a 2 percent raise for county employees.
The move cane after teachers in Anderson County rallied outside Monday night’s county commission meeting, pushing for a 4 percent pay raise.
“I have taught for 39 years. I have a master’s degree. I’ve gone to school. And I’ve had to work a second job my entire career,” said Clinton High School English teacher Dewayne Emert.
He says every penny counts, even at this stage of his career.
“I’ve had to supplement that income with a second job in order to have a home, in order to have a car,” he said.
He’s already been to five Anderson County Commission meetings hoping to see a 4 percent raise.
Rachel Minardo, a teacher at Claxton Elementary School, is also the Anderson County Education Association President. She says the last pay bump teachers received was two percent in 2012.
“It kind of balanced out. We got the two percent raise but then insurance costs went up. There are teachers making less now than they made seven, 10 years ago,” said Minardo.
Commissioner Steve Meade said before the meeting the money just isn’t there.
“Even though we have hundreds of teachers who want pay raises, we have thousands of residents who don’t want a tax increase,” said Meade.
They also have to think about being fair to other county employees.
“The other thing is the county employees have not received a raise for many years,” he said.
“For Anderson County,the best thing the county commission can do would be to give us a raise and show to business that they value public education. That they value their teachers and the sacrifices they make,” Emert said.