Even in Sioux Falls, one of the best-paying school districts in South Dakota, the three school board candidates say they want to pay their teachers more.
Dobberpuhl describes the matter as “a situation that we got to look at.”
South Dakota is last in the nation in average teacher salary, and the problem trickles down to the Sioux Falls district, even though local schools can pay more than some.
Fixing that might be prodding the Legislature, Dobberpuhl said. He’s talked with the district’s teachers union about starting a lobbying group, and said he would be a vocal advocate for higher pay if elected.
“I don’t want to lose ground,” Dobberpuhl said. “How do we get these teachers caught up?” [Patrick Anderson, “School Board Candidate Profile: Randy Dobberpuhl,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2015.04.09]
Parker wants better wages for Sioux Falls teachers, but the way South Dakota pays for K-12 limits the board’s options, she said.
“We need to find out a way to increase teacher salaries,” Parker said. “We can only do so much with what we’re given.”
If elected, Parker said she would continue to hammer home the need for putting more funding toward teacher salaries [Patrick Anderson, “School Board Candidate Profile: Kate Parker,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2015.04.09].
Something needs to happen, but not more finger-pointing, Thoelke said.
Thoelke represents Sioux Falls on the Associated School Boards of South Dakota. He said he’s already visited Pierre and talked with lawmakers about school funding and the state’s rock-bottom teacher salaries. And he thinks the best way to fix the state’s teacher-pay problem and keep teachers from leaving is with more dialog and less blame, Thoelke said.
“We got some great legislators, let’s work with them.” Thoelke said. “There’s a new concept” [Patrick Anderson, “School Board Candidate Profile: Todd Thoelke,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2015.04.09].
Thoelke makes a little too nice with a Legislature that’s been AWOL on teacher pay for at least two generations. Great legislators would lead the conversation and solve the problem. Great legislators would not let blame or criticism stand in the way of their fixing the teacher shortage that threatens this state’s economic viability. On teacher pay, I’m having trouble spying the “great” legislators Thoelke says are out there.