SB 35 Sets Target Teacher Salary at $48,985

Senate Bill 35 provides the yearly adjustments to the formula for state aid to education. In past years, this bill would have specified the increase in the per-student allocation. But now, thanks to the formula revision (2016 SB 131) passed last year as part of the teacher pay-raise plan, the state calculates aid by mixing the number of students a school has, the number of teachers the state thinks the school should have, and the average salary the state thinks teachers statewide should get.

SB 35 raises the target teacher salary from $48,500 to $48,985. That’s the 1% Governor Dennis Daugaard said he’d request. That’s also a target that we won’t reach, just as we aren’t reaching it this year.

SB 35 also snudges up the overhead factor, the amount beyond teacher pay and benefits that the formula assumes a school needs to operate, from 31% to 31.04%. That adjustment increases the Governor’s increase in state K-12 aid from 1% to 1.03%. Figuring overhead and teacher benefits, SB 35 assumes that it costs $82,805.03 per teacher to run a school in South Dakota. Without adding in aid for English language learners and other factors, that figure alone, multiplied by current student enrollment and divided by the state’s ideal student/teacher ratio (14.30 statewide; remember, the formula scales that ratio from 12 students per teacher in small districts to 15 in large districts), means the state says it will cost $759.7 million to educate our kids in Fiscal Year 2018.


8 Responses to SB 35 Sets Target Teacher Salary at $48,985

  1. Darin Larson

    I hope the schools know enough not to spend all that .04% increase in one place.

  2. Darin Larson

    Oh, I see it’s an extra .03%, not .04%. It’s tough to talk about infinitesimal numbers as if they are meaningful.

  3. Corey, do you have the figures what SD spends per student compared to our surrounding states? Just curious. I am not apposed to paying teachers a good wage but I will never support any more sales tax increases.

  4. Uh oh! Now you’re asking me to do math. Give me some time; those numbers should be available… although we may not have updated 2016–2017 figures.

  5. It frustrates me that education reform, especially one like 1182 tackled with the teacher shortage and opportunity loss to SD students, takes so long to register results. Your focus on salary and Greg’s questions have merit, but isn’t the heart of the issue: Did SD attract and retain more teachers for the classrooms of SD? I believe we bumped the needle in the right direction (from some stories I am told from schools), but now seems like the time schools need to share their staffing stories.

  6. That’s a good map, Timoteo! Note that it gives total spending per student from all sources, local, state, and federal.

  7. As Timoteo’s map shows, most districts in South Dakota spend less than the national average per student on K-12 education. That could be a sign of stinginess or efficiency—go ahead and debate!

    The National Education Association shows South Dakota’s statewide average spending per student to be 38th in the nation (remember when Governor Daugaard talked about how it was odd that we rank 38th for student spending but 51st for teacher pay?).

    But go back to my February 10, 2016, post on comparing K-12 funding in all 50 states. South Dakota was dead last in state share of K-12 funding (31.04%) and one of a minority of states putting more than 50% of the funding burden on local districts (54.14%).

    Whatever factors affect how much it costs to educate kids in different districts in different states, our state legislature has taken the lead in not taking the lead in funding public schools.