Knobe Backs Daugaard’s Teacher Pay Plan

KSOO’s Independent radio host Rick Knobe continues to urge the Legislature to raise South Dakota’s teacher pay. He said last November that he wasn’t terribly impressed with the Blue Ribbon K-12 panel’s plan. He still contends that the state should fund better teacher pay with a progressive income tax rather than more regressive sales tax.

But now that the Governor has filed the three bills that would enact his $67.4-million plan (less new revenue than the Republicans poured into roads last year), Knobe says we need to stand up for the plan and stand against the conservative naysayers:

Last week, some House Republicans began searching for other money, alternatives, to improving the status of education by raising the state sales tax by half a penny.  That’s code for, “we don’t want to do much, yet we don’t want to get blamed for doing nothing.” And, “Our Governor is betraying his conservative principles. We need to bring him back into our fold.”

In this case, our Governor is correct and he is still right. Spending money on education is not an expense. It is an investment. Most conservatives know that investing in infrastructure, ie education and teachers, has a great return. Smarter kids. Smarter graduates. Smarter employees [Rick Knobe, “Vultures And Hyenas Are Gathering In Pierre,” KSOO Radio, 2016.02.03].

Knobe isn’t forsaking conservatism (“None of us want to waste money”). But it’s investment time, and we’ve cheated on our investment in K-12 education for decades.

3 Responses to Knobe Backs Daugaard’s Teacher Pay Plan

  1. The question I have is what is the long term plan for education funding? We do a boost this year and then does the state decide for the next ten years to ride the wave?

  2. mike from iowa

    And, “Our Governor is betraying his conservative principles. We need to bring him back into our fold.”

    Guess that means education is not a real priority for the party of low/no taxes and even less service.

  3. Madman, if we pass the Governor’s three-bill package, we get ongoing funding (the sales tax increase), plus we apply the index factor (inflation or 3%, whichever is less) to the target teacher salary. That’s the basic long-term plan… or the wave we ride if nothing else happens. SB 131 Section 26 requires 90% of the new revenue be spent on teacher pay and benefits in FY2017; it also requires every school district to report their salary data.

    So here’s how I see it working: the package works its magic in the coming school year. We get the data in time for the 2017 Session and see what the new cash did to teacher salaries. If the plan worked, if the new statewide average teacher salary has reached the target, then we pass a new bill amending SB 131 Section 26 to specify that the percentage of new revenue over the FY2016 benchmark dedicated to teacher compensation remains constant in coming years.

    And then we just need to keep electing legislators who swear their commitment to upholding the progress we made in 2016.