Charleston County School Board Pay Raise Could Be Reversed at Special Meeting


A controversial pay raise for Charleston County School Board members may not happen, after all.

On Wednesday, several board members called on each other to rescind their 4-2 vote during the July 17 board meeting. The board will now reconvene at a special meeting scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

Nine days ago, the board voted to change their pay method from per-diem to salaried. The board has since been sued because of the decision.

The pay raise proposal the board passed put each of the nine members in line to begin drawing a salary of over $14,400 a year. Charleston County's 50 constituent board members also would begin making more than $7,200 yearly. The pay increase would cost taxpayers over $400,000 a year.

Board members Michael Miller, Kevin Hollinshead, Eric Mack, and Chris Collins voted in favor of giving themselves a raise. On Wednesday, Miller and Hollinshead defended their actions.

“We had no idea that the lawsuit would come,” Miller said. “We were told that it was possibility, just like we were told it was a possibility that it could not come.”

RELATED | Lowcountry Lawmaker Calls Charleston School Board Vote to Raise Own Salary "Unlawful"

Both said the law in question is unclear and the board is long overdue for a raise.

“We spend a lot of time now, almost 24 hours a day receiving phone calls,” Hollinshead said. “My Facebook account lights up now with parents asking questions and I personally am compelled to answer everybody that reaches out to me.”

Board of Trustees Chair Kate Darby voted against the raise, and said board members were warned of the legal implications by several attorneys and lawmakers in the weeks prior to the vote.

WATCH | CCSD board members speak about pay increases

“When two members of the delegation are telling us specifically we could be sued -- which we have now been -- if we increase our pay, I think it’s something we need to listen to,” Darby said.

Miller and Hollinshead hope the lawsuit will compel a circuit court judge to review the state statute.

“We are not in any way saying we’d like to rescind that policy but what we are saying, because there is some gray area built in the law, we’d simply like to have the law clarified,” Miller said.

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