The maximum teachers can earn in the 25-step program is $46,087, officials said.
On the other hand, Washington County's starting teacher salary is $25,075, which is ranked 21st in the state.
Officials believe the low salary led to the sharp drop in the number of job applications this year.
School officials said they received about 400 fewer applications this year compared to the previous year.
The pay increase for senior teachers was the result of contract negotiations, officials said. Teachers have been working without a contract ever since their last agreement expired in June, said Board of Education member Edwin Hayes.
The Board of Education and the Washington County Teachers Association are trying to hammer-out a three year contract, said acting Superintendent of Schools Herman G. Bartlett Jr.
The proposed contract calls for raises of second percent in addition to step raises over the last two years of the contract. Details of how the raise would be distributed and who would receive it are being negotiated, said Hayes and school board President B. Marie Byers.
So far, teachers with 20 years of teaching experience and less are not getting a pay hike over their regular step raise this year. Byers said there was only enough money in the budget for the raise for senior teachers.
Bartlett said the 2 percent, 3 percent and 4 percent pay raises called for in the proposal will not do much to increase the county's salary ranking, but it will keep them steady.
Another issue to consider is whether the Washington County Commissioners will provide sufficient funding to give the 3 percent and 4 percent pay hikes, said Bartlett.