Senate Bill 132 would “give schools boards some tools” they’re not unable to utilize now, said ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany. ASBSD supports the bill.
“(School Boards) are struggling with the (teacher) pool,” Pogany said. “If we had enough people we wouldn’t even be here today, but that’s the reality of where we are”
SB 132 would allow districts leeway to offer a signing bonus, moving expenses, or tuition reimbursement to a teacher employed in the school district and allows districts to match or exceed a contract offer made to a teacher in their district from another entity.
Surveys and statements made by the education community have revealed a troubling trend of exodus of teachers to out-of-state school districts or the private sector that has resulted in a shrinking teacher pool mainly attributed to low teacher salaries and financial incentives.
“I think this bill allows more options to school districts,” Rep. Jacqueline Sly, a sponsor of the bill, said.
Supporters of SB 132 included the South Dakota Department of Education and School Administrators of South Dakota. SASD Executive Director Rob Monson said “any tools that we can offer” school boards and administrators to assist them in recruiting and retaining teachers to their district is a good thing.
South Dakota Education Association President Mary McCorkle, who’s organization opposes the bill, said SB 132 “eliminates” the voice of teachers and “doesn’t address” teacher salaries as a whole.
Pogany readily admitted the bill will not address teacher salary issues and is not intended to do so, but added it would “not stifle teachers” because it does not take away collective bargaining of salaries, rather provides school districts with additional financial incentive options to offer their teachers.