Mary McCorkle, president of the South Dakota Education Association, tells WNAX that our extra half-penny sales tax for teacher pay is lowering job openings by enticing some older teachers to stick around. McCorkle also says the mentoring provided by last year’s teacher pay deal (two years of mentoring and a summer workshop provided for in 2016 Senate Bill 133, separate from the tax increase of 2016 HB 1182 and the funding formula revision of 2016 SB 131) will help keep younger teachers in the classroom longer.
The WNAX report also claims that the 2016 teacher pay bill increased our average annual teacher salary to about $48,000. I have not seen data supporting that claim. My survey of school districts last fall found our average teacher pay reaching about $46,600; Governor Dennis Daugaard said last December it was about $46,900.