The board charged with studying South Dakota’s progress on teacher pay convened for the first time on Wednesday (6/20).
Members of the Teacher Compensation Review Board, which was established in 2016 as part of legislation that overhauled the state’s funding formula, began their review of teacher compensation, including comparable wage indexes in surrounding states.
Data compiled since the infusion of approximately $67 million in new money to increase teacher pay showed South Dakota remains behind their regional counterparts in average teacher salary, but the state was making up ground.
Between 2016 and 2017, the state had closed the average teacher salary gap on Montana by nearly $5,000, on Minnesota and Montana by more than $4,500, on Nebraska by slightly more than $4,000 and on Iowa and North Dakota more than $3,000. S.D. also had the highest percentage change – at 11.8 percent – in average teacher salary over the same time period among the seven regional states.
“We want to make sure the teacher salaries improve so we don’t go back to 51st (in the nation),” Rep. Julie Bartling, who was elected as Vice Chair of the board, said.
Board members also received a report on the teacher pipeline in the state.
DOE Director Division of Accountability Systems Abby Javurek told board members in the next five years the state is estimated to need 2,320 teachers with an expected 876 retirees, 988 expected to leave the education field and 456 needed to meet the expected enrollment growth of 7,400 additional students.
Five-year projections have the number of incoming teachers outpacing those leaving with nearly 2,900 new teachers expected to enter the profession in South Dakota.
“We’re looking a little bit better than we did before,” Javurek told board members.
“This trending data’s good,” Sen. Deb Soholt said.
TCRB is scheduled to meet again on Wednesday, August 29 at 10 a.m. with Sen. Jim Bolin leading the meeting as fellow board members elected him Board Chair.