State’s teacher pay improves national ranking

You are here:

State’s teacher pay improves national ranking

South Dakota’s teacher pay climbed the national ladder according to a recent study.


The National Education Association’s 2018 Rankings and Estimates report cited South Dakota’s average teacher salary of $46,979 in 2016-17 brought the state from 51st in the nation to 48th. The state’s average teacher salary rose by nearly $5,000 from 2015-16 to 2016-17, which made it the largest dollar amount increase in the nation.


South Dakota teacher pay received a major boost in 2016 when the legislature passed House Bill 1182, which increased the state’s sales tax by a half cent; much of the revenue generated by the sales tax increase went to teacher salaries.


The legislation arose after the Blue Ribbon Task Force’s nearly year-long study in 2015 on teacher pay.


“The primary goal of the Blue Ribbon Task Force was to make South Dakota’s teacher salaries competitive with other states, considering salaries and cost of living, and we are accomplishing that,” Gov. Dennis Daugaard said in a statement released on Tuesday (4/24).


“We also sent an important message to our teachers – that we value the work they do, that three decades in last place was enough and that we were willing to step up to improve their salaries.”


The improvement in teacher salaries brought South Dakota out of 51st in the nation in pay for the first time since 1985.


“It’s very reassuring to see progress come of the commitment and investment made by everyone involved in the Blue Ribbon Task Force and the subsequent efforts to get the legislation passed,” ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany said.


Teacher pay in South Dakota has taken steps forward and we’re pleased to see that, but we need to ensure we stick to the philosophy and goals of the Blue Ribbon Task Force and continue to improve teacher pay.”


As teacher pay in S.D. moves forward the need to review its position among neighboring states will be a spotlight of the work of Teacher Compensation Review Board. The nine-member board begins their work this summer reviewing teacher compensation, including comparable wage indexes in surrounding states.


Teacher Compensation Review Board members include Representatives Tom Holmes, David Lust and Julie Bartling, Senators Jim Bolin, Deb Soholt and Troy Heinert, Governor’s Chief of Staff Tony Venhuizen, S.D. Secretary of Education Don Kirkegaard and Aberdeen Superintendent Becky Guffin.


TCRB members will develop potential policy recommendations and are scheduled to submit their findings to Gov. Dennis Daugaard by September 30.


For updates on teacher pay and the TCRB’s findings, check the ASBSD BlogTwitter feed and Facebook page.

Scroll to Top