FY2018 Budget Won’t Reach Target Average Teacher Salary

I feel like Governor Daugaard is using IM22 the way Donald Trump uses Twitter: to distract us from his policy failures. Trump flunks foreign policy by tweaking China with his Taiwan phone call, without any clear plan for using that tweakage to get something, so he decides to attack Boeing’s work on the most important airplane in the world. Governor Daugaard runs into budget trouble again, so he blasts IM22 and voters for daring to spend money on a state ethics commission. Ah, sweet sensationalism!

But let’s not miss one of the big budget busts in the Governor’s budget address, the early abandonment of the Blue Ribbon teacher pay plan. I mentioned our failure to achieve regionally competitive teacher pay in yesterday’s IM22 post; let’s look at the numbers in more detail here.

  1. Daugaard’s budget proposes $6,846,447 in new state funding for K-12 schools in Fiscal Year 2018, a 1% increase over FY2017.
  2. Suppose 85% of that new money goes toward teacher salaries next year.
  3. Suppose also that school districts finally get with the Governor’s program and cut teachers instead of adding them, and, based on current student numbers and the Governor’s student/teacher ratio formula, contract with 9,174.16 full-time equivalents.
  4. We can give each public school teacher a $634 raise.
  5. The Governor says our current average teacher pay is $46,924.
  6. My empirical data suggest that average is actually $46,613.
  7. The new funding could thus raise South Dakota’s average pay to between $47,247 and $47,558.
  8. The current statutory target for South Dakota average teacher pay is $48,500.
  9. Splitting the difference between a cited inflation rate of 0.3% and anticipated inflation of 1.5% to 2.5% in the next two years, Governor Daugaard proposes raising the target average teacher pay 1% to $48,985.
  10. By anyone’s numbers, for the second year in a row, we will fall more than $1,000 short of the target average teacher pay that our sales tax increase was supposed to get us.
  11. Governor Daugaard did say it would take time to reach the target, and his FY2018 funding does get us closer to the target. At this rate, we should reach that target by 2028.
  12. But remember what I said under Point 3 about getting rid of teachers? If schools accept that Daugaard axe and chop off 480 teachers, they can redistribute another $22.4 million to the remaining FTEs.
  13. That fire-and-share could add another $2,450 to every teacher’s check, vaulting us possibly a thousand dollars over the target average teacher salary.
  14. Even under fire-and-share, we remain last in the region, $1,000 behind North Dakota, and nearly $8,000 behind Minnesota.

So really, Governor Daugaard isn’t abandoning his teacher-pay plan. He’s sticking to his target to keep us last in the region for teacher pay and his claim that South Dakota has too many teachers. But because the local districts are putting kids ahead of the Governor’s timid and arbitrary pay target, we will not attain the Governor’s teacher pay goal in FY2018.

8 Responses to FY2018 Budget Won’t Reach Target Average Teacher Salary

  1. Mark Winegar

    The sad fact is the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Plan never would have moved us out of last place in the region. Things are bound to get worse with DeVos as Secretary of Education.

  2. That’s what drives me nuts, Mark. We started the bidding at a compromise position, leaving ourselves in last place in the region, and let the Legislature negotiate the deal down from there. We need to dream big, and we need a vigorous opposition party to stake those big dreams out as policy positions and fight for better compromises.

  3. It’s very clear that Daugaard is punishing our students and teachers for voters passing IM22. And it not only harms those two groups but ancillary staff who got their pay slashed due to Rounds/Daugaard’s phony budget short fall! My daughter had been working for the Sioux Falls School District for 5 years at that time as an EA, education assistant. Her pay was cut by a dollar an hour! And nothing has been done to return that cut to her or any other ancillary staff in the public schools!

    This is going to hurt her and all such staff for the rest of their lives because she not only continues to earn less but pays less into the state retirement system and Social Security!

    It also means it’s nearly impossible to hire good staff or they don’t stay! This makes the work harder on those who are willing to stay and they burn out!

    Daugaard and Republicans fail completely to ever see the full scope of what they do to people! How is it that they believe that they are the party of family values, that they have the moral high ground? They want to keep wages low, health care unavailable, our children uneducated and Native Americans, POC, Hispanics and Muslims deprived of their human rights!

    Oh, and one last thing, maybe we’d have enough money to fund our PUBLIC schools if we hadn’t given insurance companies a tax cuts to support PRIVATE schools!

  4. Roger Elgersma

    They passed a new tax to fund teacher pay. So there is absolutely no excuse to not pay them what was planned.

  5. clcjm, yes, our state is ruled by misplaced fiscal priorities.

    Roger, I’m willing to grant the locals some leeway there. Apparently many districts believe they serve kids better by hiring back staff that past cuts required them to shed rather than cutting staff to reach the Governor’s target average salary. Just remember: we could fund more teachers at a higher salary if we’d have adopted the Democratic plan to raise the sales tax a full percentage point but exempt food.

  6. Mr. Elgersma, perhaps one excuse that might be floated would be that the tax they passed is apparently not bringing in as much as was planned. I’m just sayin…

  7. Darin Larson

    Cory, how could schools possibly give 85% of the 1% increase in funding that Daugaard has proposed for k-12 education to teachers? The 1% won’t cover the year over year increase in costs to run a school, including healthcare insurance increases. Thus, a .15% increase won’t cover squat. We are going backwards again.

    Of $19 million in new money in the state budget, k-12 education gets $6.8 million of that, but the governor wants to put $2.5 million in to reserves and $2.5 million into his pet project, spearfish canyon. How about we prioritize education over every other discretionary expenditure? It is job Number 1 for government in this state.

  8. Indeed, dedicating 85% of the new money to teacher pay may be unlikely. As I review the funding formula (see Section 27 of 2016 SB 131, I find the 85% requirement applied to the new money received this year, with penalty for failure applied in FY2018. The formula sets this year’s average teacher compensation (salary + benefits) as a floor for the next three years: “For fiscal years 2019, 2020, and 2021, if a district’s average teacher compensation is less than the district’s average teacher compensation in fiscal year 2017, state aid to general education funding to the district in the following fiscal year shall be reduced by an amount equal to five hundred dollars for each teacher employed in the school district.”