Katherine Grandstrand goes to town on the new funding formula and finds that, while all 23 of the school districts in the Aberdeen American News coverage area get more money from the new K-12 funding formula (and her numbers match mine), most will not get enough new state money to raise their average teacher pay to the $48,500 target written into the new teacher-pay law.
Grandstrand samples 23 districts and reports their fall 2015 enrollment, the number of teachers funded by the new formula, and the new state money that would come based on those numbers. Those numbers will change, of course, based on fall 2016 enrollment. But as it stands, only three of the 23 schools listed—Aberdeen, Herreid, and Langford—receive enough money to pay their Senate Bill 131 formula-funded teachers an average salary beating $48,500.
Part of the problem is that the average salary in northeastern South Dakota is just about $2,000 less than the statewide average. DOE stats show the average statewide teacher salary in the 2015 school year was $40,880. For the 23 AAN-region districts, that average was $38,894, 95.1% of the statewide average. Apply the SB 131 funding formula to estimated 2% increases this school year, and that gap remains: $48,357 for the statewide average, $46,383 for the AAN region. (Bright side: that northeast region average creeps up to 95.9% of the statewide average.)
|New state money for 23 AAN-region schools||$4,869,108|
|Teachers funded by SB 131 formula||767.68|
|Average raise for formula-funded teachers||$6,343|
|AY2015 avg salary||$38,894|
|AY2016 avg salary||$39,672|
|AY2017 avg salary for funded teachers||$46,383|
|Actual AY2015 teachers||819.40|
|Actual average raise||$5,942|
|AY2017 average salary for actual AY2015 teachers||$45,614|
The averages creep back if we look at actual teachers rather than the lower staff numbers the SB 131 formula prescribes for all but three of the 23 AAN-region schools (Aberdeen, Gettysburg, and Warner). Rejecting the SB 131 and sharing the new money equally with all teachers (as counted at the end of AY 2015, the most recent numbers available) pulls the new AY2017 average to $48,098. The AAN-region schools would fall back a bit further, to $45,614, 94.8% of the statewide average.
And of course, these numbers assume all of the schools would spend every penny of the new money on teacher pay. Such extreme budgeting contravenes the presumptions of the new funding formula, which expects that schools will spend 59 cents out of every dollar on teacher pay, 17 cents on teacher benefits, and 24 cents on other staff and overhead. If schools operated exactly the way the formula expects, average teacher salary in the AAN-region schools would just break $43,000, more than 10% shy of the target average of $48,500.