The House and Senate had their opportunity earlier in session to voice their opinions on the growing concern in school districts about a potential teacher adequacy problem and shortage with their votes on House Concurrent Resolution 1002.
The resolution called for the acknowledgement of the teacher shortage and the difficulties districts in South Dakota face in attracting and retaining qualified teachers. The House voted to adopt the resolution, but the Senate did not.
A few weeks after those votes, ASBSD and SASD (School Administrators of South Dakota) received the results of a survey, which the associations commissioned Dr. Mark Baron to complete, to determine the perceptions of superintendents regarding the adequacy of available teacher candidates in the state.
Download the results of the survey here.
The results show there’s a perceived problem among the 130 superintendents that responded to the survey inquiry.
More than 75 percent of respondents considered the teacher applicant pool to be inadequate or very inadequate and over 70 percent said their district had to fill open teaching positions with individuals less qualified than they had hoped.
Seventy-three percent of superintendents said they believed low salary was an important reason an applicant did not apply for open positions in their district and 70 percent believe low salary is a key reason why teachers leave their district.
In 2013, South Dakota ranked last in average teacher salary by a thirty percent margin compared to the 49th position.
In an almost startling revelation, S.D. Budget and Policy Project Director Joy Smolnisky told members of the Joint Appropriations committee earlier in session that teacher’s salary today has “virtually the same” purchasing power as it did in 1969.
“I think the survey, along with all the testimony we’ve heard at this year’s session and during the legislature’s school funding study done last year, shows a troubling trend,” ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany said.
“We’ll continue to do our best to advocate for our teachers to be properly compensated, but unless we get help from the legislature our teacher pool is going to continue to shrink and our students will suffer.”
To review the entire results of the survey, click here.