ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany appeared on Kelo Radio’s Greg Belfrage Show yesterday morning (Wednesday, Oct. 8) to discuss the Teacher Salary Enhancement Fund (TSEF) proposal and teacher shortage.
Listen to the interview here: http://kelo.com/podcasts/greg-belfrage-show/935/proposal-to-increase-teacher-pay-through-one-cent-sales-tax/.
Pogany said the proposal is the first step in the conversation to find a solution to low teacher salaries and the increasing number of teachers leaving the profession, which has made it very difficult for school districts to recruit and retain quality teachers.
“We’ve got outstanding teachers all across South Dakota,” Pogany said during the interview. “We’re really in a crisis. We know we’ve lost teachers who have moved out of the profession…because of salaries.”
Pogany cited the School Administrators of South Dakota study released in September that revealed 31 school districts started the school year with an open teaching position(s).
The proposal calls for an additional penny increase from June-August to the state’s sales tax and revenue generated from the tax is estimated at $40 million annually, or $4,000 per teacher.
“We want to have a conversation with all South Dakotans,” Pogany said. “Just for that three months, would you be willing to pay a penny (more) in order to dedicate (revenue generated) to teacher salaries?”
In addition to the penny increase, the proposal calls for districts to have their general fund balance at 40 percent or less (those above 40 percent must spend it down by 2019), increase their minimum base teacher salary by three percent for three years and, if the PSA increase is above two percent, half of the funds from the percentage above two percent must be put towards teacher salaries.
The proposal would also allow the school board of a district to provide teachers with a signing bonus, moving expense, college loan payment or other market-based resources as they see fit, which resulted in a new resolution to ASBSD’s legislative platform.
ASBSD will provide updates on the TSEF proposal up to and during the 2015 legislative session.