“We are apprehensive to say the least”–Thorsland

Calls from the state capital, led by Governor McMaster, to raise the salaries of South Carolina teachers by five percent sound good for the prospects to attract more young people to the profession. But there’s a reality that will hit the pocketbooks of those who pay the bills in the Oconee education system. Dr. Michael Thorsland, district superintendent, told county trustees last night that usually when the state grants a teacher pay raise, some of it is contingent on local funding. Thorsland says local administrators are apprehensive because of the likelihood to deepen the district’s projected budget deficit. In recent years, to avoid general tax increases, the district has tapped its reserve fund called the fund balance. Thorsland relayed a talk that he had yesterday with Walhalla state representative Bill Whitmire. In spite of promising reports about the size of the state’s financial surplus, Whitmire cautioned Thorsland: “It’s not as much as people are reporting.”