SCPC, partners host school board leader training in Columbia

SCPC, partners host school board leader training in Columbia

Over the weekend, dozens of education leaders – including school board members, candidates and parents – joined the S.C. Policy Council (SCPC) in Columbia for a community event focused on student achievement, effective governance and the positive changes coming to K-12 education. 

The event came by way of our collaborative initiative, the Carolinas Academic Leadership Network (CALN). Founded last year, CALN provides first-class training, resources and networking opportunities to local school board members, with a mission of supporting academic excellence. CALN is a joint project of the S.C. Policy Council, the Palmetto Promise Institute, and the John Locke Foundation.   

Among the presenters, SCPC Senior Policy Analyst Bryce Fiedler shared the details of South Carolina’s upcoming budget and other education changes on the horizon. Here are some highlights: 

  • Raising teacher pay: Under the FY25 state budget, base teacher salary will increase from $42,500 to $47,000.

  • Additional raises for veteran teachers: Also under the new budget, teachers can earn annual raises for their first 28 years on the job, up from 23 years (some districts offer raises for even longer).  

  • Cell phone policy: Districts must adopt a policy that prohibits students from accessing cellphones and other personal electronic devices during the school day, says a proviso in the new budget. 

  • Read to Succeed: Gov. Henry McMaster in March signed legislation to bolster the state Read to Succeed law, extending summer reading camp opportunities to first and second graders, among other changes.  

Later in the day, CALN hosted a robust panel discussion featuring current school board members. Panelists included Pamela McKinney (Charleston County School District); Jeffrey Zell (Sumter School District); and Angela Nash (Vice Chair, Richland School District Two). Each spoke about their approach to student achievement, the challenges they face as education leaders, and shared insights and wisdom from their time in public service.  

The event comes just two months after CALN's successful North Carolina school board primer in Raleigh.