Governor Dennis Daugaard says his plan to raise teacher pay is working:
“There’s a variation in the kinds of increases we’re seeing, but no question across the board we’re seeing increases everywhere and substantial ones,” Gov. Dennis Daugaard said.
The State doesn’t have all the new teacher pay numbers compiled yet, but Governor Dennis Daugaard is happy with the reports he is hearing so far. The new law requires 85 percent of the new money to go to teachers.
“School districts have that standard they have to meet. There’s a tool online that they can use to make sure they’re meeting the standard and I’m seeing it being met by school districts all across the board,” Daugaard said [Erich Schaffhauser, “Teacher Pay Numbers,” KELO-TV, 2016.05.15].
The Governor’s new funding formula (see 2016 Senate Bill 131) calls for South Dakota’s average K-12 teacher pay to reach $48,500 in the next school year. According to the new NEA Rankings of the States 2015 and Estimates of School Statistics 2016, that would represent an average raise for South Dakota teachers of $6,475, or 15.4%, over the current estimated teacher salary.
According to the NEA data, the nationwide average teacher salary has risen 18.3% since the 2005–2006 school year. That’s an annual rate of 1.69%. If that decade trend continues for the rest of the nation in the coming school year, reaching $48,500 in South Dakota would jump our teachers from 51st to 43rd in the nation. $48,500 would be 82.1% of the projected national average teacher salary of $59,048.
Jumping up eight spots nationally would still leave us in the regional basement:
|State||current estimated average teacher salary||projected 2016–2017 (SB 131 target in SD; 1.69% growth elsewhere)|
The Governor’s new funding formula will close the gap significantly with North Dakota and other neighboring states, but we will remain the only state in the region not valuing teachers enough to pay them in the fifties.
The goal of this year’s teacher pay plan was to pay our teachers regionally competitive wages. As predicted, SB 131 leaves us losing that competition. The Governor and the Legislature are raising teacher pay, but not enough. If we’re serious about recruiting and retaining the best teachers, we need to return to Pierre in 2017 and raise teacher pay to the regional median, more like $53,000. We can lift ourselves from last place in the nation; now let’s lift ourselves from last place in the region.