The board charged with studying South Dakota’s progress on teacher pay approved their report to Gov. Dennis Daugaard on Wednesday (8/29).
- The data demonstrates that South Dakota has made significant strides in teacher pay as a result of the Blue Ribbon legislation;
- This progress is due to the changes in the funding formula, and the increase in funding, that were part of the Blue Ribbon legislation;
- South Dakota’s teacher salaries are now more regionally competitive. However, South Dakota still has one of the lowest average teacher salaries in the nation and, even when adjusted for cost of living, is lower than most surrounding states;
- In order to remain market-competitive, South Dakota should maintain and strive to improve its national ranking in the average teacher salaries and to reach or exceed the median of surrounding states, when adjust for regional price parities.
TCRB members did vote to remove a statement from a draft of the report’s conclusion which sought for the state to “strive over time to increase its average teacher salaries by approximately $4,500, beyond annual inflationary increases, with the goal of reaching the middle of the rankings among surrounding states, when adjusted for regional price parities.”
“I don’t know that we want to pick a number,” Rep. Julie Bartling said of the figure in the initial draft of the report, but added that the conclusion should express that South Dakota aim to “exceed the median (in teacher pay) of surrounding states.”
It was noted at the TCRB meeting in June that South Dakota had the highest percentage change – at 11.8 percent – in average teacher salary in 2016-17 and made great strides to close the pay gap among their six regional counterparts, but remain last in average teacher salaries and salaries when adjusted for regional price parities while finishing only ahead of Montana when salaries are adjusted by taxes.
“We’ve made some great headway,” Pierre Superintendent Kelly Glodt said, adding that “school districts are starting to see the benefits” of the pay increase in teacher candidates, but noted, “I think we still have a ways to go.”