Teacher's job threatened, school can't afford to pay her

By Eric

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A Charleston County teacher is hanging on to the hope her job can be saved. For 13 years Susan Findlay has taught at Harbor View Elementary, but she may have to leave that career behind at the end of the school year.

If she leaves, it's not by choice; the school can no longer afford to pay her. So Findlay could be forced to quit the career she loves.

Of all the teachers at Harbor View Elementary, Findlay is the only one whose job may be eliminated.

"It's anxiety producing," said Findlay. "You don't know if you're going to have a job next year."

Her position as computer instructor is not automatically funded by the district like a math or English teacher's may be. Findlay was reduced to teaching only four days a week last year, and now she may lose them all.

"It doesn't have its own line item on the budget; it's lumped in with some school support salaries and that particular fund has been reduced," she said.

Funds have also dropped because Harbor View students have scored higher on standardized testing and the school's been given a good and excellent rating. That means the extra money it received in the past is going to a different school with potentially greater need.

Findlay teaches PowerPoint, word processing and Internet safety, what she calls a critical skill set.

"From the parents' point of view they're having something taken away from their kids, it's a valuable resource," said Findlay.

One resource parents don't want to lose either. They plan to bring a petition to the school board with 600 signatures Tuesday night, to get their point across.

"Maybe it's not just reading and writing and arithmetic anymore," said parent Chris Dixon. "Maybe it's reading, writing, arithmetic and computer science."

If it doesn't catch on, Findlay will spend the summer looking for a new way to continue her career.

"I would really, really miss my children, my students," she said.