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.