CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – The Horry County School Board met Monday evening and voted in favor of raising school board salaries to $15,900 to more closely resemble the salary of a Horry County Council Member.
Those who voted against the raise were: Ray Winters, John Poston, Chris Hardwick and Neil James.
“I felt the current compensation of the board was adequate, more than adequate, for what work we do,” Poston said after the vote. “It kind of pulls our focus off of kids and education and a little bit too much to ourselves.”
Monday night, an amendment was proposed to the motion to take out the link between county council and board salaries, and simply raise the school board salary. That amendment passed ten to zero, with one member abstaining.
David Cox, the board member who initially suggested the pay increase, said they’ve gotten a lot of hate from the public.
“We’ve been castigated,” said Cox. “The Facebook bullies, the keyboard commandos, the cyber attacks have been amazing. We have many supporters too but you don’t hear those because good news is not sensational news.”
In the past, Chairman Joe DeFeo argued the board members’ compensation was not matching their workload. “It’s not just the meetings. It’s the conversations, it’s the emails and things in between meetings. It’s dealing with parental concerns of 44,000 students. They don’t always call up the principal first,” says DeFeo.
Board members currently make $9,600 a year while Horry County Council Members make almost $16,000 a year.
Now that the increase has passed, Horry County will be the highest paid school board in South Carolina.
DeFeo hopes that means more people will be interested in getting involved with the school board.
“Maybe next time around we’ll have a whole lot of opposition and people will say, ‘See what you did,’ and I’ll say, ‘Good I’m glad more people are involved,'” he added.