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      SC schools chief grilled for not seeking teacher pay increase

      South Carolina Education Superintendent Mick Zais is being criticized by House Democrats for not seeking more money for teacher pay.

      Zais asked a Ways and Means panel Wednesday not to cut a key funding stream for classrooms, but he did not ask for an increase.

      The so-called base student cost primarily pays teacher salaries.

      The current per-student allocation is about $1,900 because of recession budget cuts. A state funding formula calls for it to be nearly $2,800 this year.

      House Minority Leader Harry Ott blasted Zais, repeatedly asking whether he's telling teachers they should go a fourth year without a raise.

      The Republican superintendent says he's not sure the money is available, and legislators can provide more than he is requesting.

      Ott says Zais needs to make the request.