By Natalie Caula
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Tiffany Taylor wears many hats. She's a mother. She's a wife. She's a teacher. If only it ended there.
For Taylor, making ends meet means double duty and a second job.
"I'm a housekeeper for Exile Cleaners. They clean houses on Isle of Palms and Sullivan's Island. I have a friend who owns the business and I clean houses every other weekend," Taylor, a teacher at Jane Simmons Elementary School said.
It's not uncommon, according to Taylor, for teachers to take on second jobs. Tuesday, Taylor was teaching summer school at Sanders-Clyde Elementary School.
"I get tired a lot, but you have to dig down and find your energy and keep going. Because, it's what you have to do," she said.
Taylor has been teaching with the Charleston County School District for eight years. She admits she considered leaving the classroom permanently at one point, amidst frozen salaries by the district three years ago.
"I seriously thought about it and talked it over with my husband. But, there's a reason I'm in teaching, and it's not for the money. I can't say any teacher in the profession is it in for the money," she said.
Like inside her classroom, patience pays off. That was clear Monday night when the Charleston County School Board approved raises for teachers, a two-step increase for teachers and a two percent cost of living increase for all employees.
"Just my dream come true, because I said it eight months ago. I continue to say it, ‘we can have all the programs in the world, and if we start losing our top talent, the programs don't mean much,'" Superintendent Dr. Nancy McGinley said.
Dr. McGinley said Tuesday she received several emails from teachers thanking her for pushing the raises. She hopes it will boost morale and hopes the district can stay comparable to surrounding districts.
Teacher salaries at other local districts
Dorchester District 2 remains competitive, according to district spokesperson Pat Raynor who says last year the district gave teachers a two percent raise, their first raise in two years. Raynor says this year's budget, also approved, includes a two-step raise for teachers.
Berkeley County's teachers have not seen step raises in two years, according to district spokesperson Kathie Sizemore.
"Pending the state's approval of next year's budget, we plan to provide both the step increase and a two percent cost of living adjustment," Sizemore said in a statement.
How step increases translate to dollars
Teachers get salary increments or salary increases for years of experience. CCSD hasn't given teachers a step increase in two years.
For example, a teacher who's been teaching for seven years with a bachelor's degree (Class 3 (A)) should be paid $37,318. In Charleston County, where those step-raises were frozen two years ago, that teacher was still being paid for five years of experience, $35,970, according to McGinley.
Employees had not received a cost of living adjustment in three years. The newly approved budget also included more money for the literacy academies.