Teacher raises back on table as SC senators discuss budget

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South Carolina senators and staff prepare for a one-day special session to discuss changes to November voting because of the COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, in Columbia, S.C. Republicans rejected a proposal by Democrats to allow voters to use special drop boxes to leave absentee ballots. (AP Photo / Jeffrey Collins)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina senators will likely consider whether to restore the annual raises most teachers get each year to the state budget when they return to Columbia next week for a special session amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Senate Finance Committee is working on a proposal to spend $40 million out of about $775 million saved up over the past two years on what are called step increases.

Those are pay raises of usually about several hundred dollars a year given to teachers as they gain experience.

Lawmakers suspended the raises in the spring because of the uncertainty of what the COVID-19 pandemic might do to the economy.

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