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South Dakota Average Teacher Pay Last Year up 2.14% to $40,880

As we head toward a second day of possibly enlightening but likely truncated floor debate on House Bill 1182, Governor Dennis Daugaard’s sales tax hike to fund teacher pay raises, I submit an extension of my fiscal analysis of the Blue Ribbon teacher pay proposal.

On the recommendation of commenters, I reviewed the Department of Education’s district profiles for academic year 2014–2015 and added districts’ average teacher salaries to my big Blue Ribbon teacher pay spreadsheet. I multiplied each local average by the number of teachers, summed, then divided the total by the statewide instructional FTEs.

The result: last year, average teacher pay in South Dakota was $40,880. That’s a 2.14% increase over the widely reported NEA figure for AY 2013–2014 of $40,023 that has informed this year’s debate on South Dakota’s rock-bottom teacher pay.

Between those two school years, the per-student allocation for K-12 funding increased 3.36%. I’d want to see trends from previous years to identify a trend before hollering. I’d also caution that lots of factors beyond the state’s magic number can impact average teacher pay—for example, if a lot of older teachers retired and were replaced by first-timers starting at the bottom of the salary schedule, average teacher pay would not have climbed as fast as the funding increase even if schools applied that 3.36% boost to every step of the salary schedule.

But the straight numerical fact is this: last year, a 3.36% increase in per-student allocation resulted in a 2.14% increase in teacher pay.

Stay tuned: I have a more detailed district-by-district comparison of last year’s salaries to the Governor’s Blue Ribbon promises coming up.




  1. LedZ 2016-02-16 10:53

    Have you posted anything prior regarding our neighboring states using student-teacher ratios to ‘equalize’ state aid?

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-16 12:16

    No, I haven’t, LedZ. Is there precedent for basing K-12 funding formulas on target student-teacher ratios?

  3. Madman 2016-02-16 12:28

    An interesting read for those following the education debate. Pay attention to the class size reduction section and improving teacher quality section. A few things that discuss ratios and what three states have done to improve ratios although not directly linked to funding like this bill.

    It’s an older piece of information but one I feel is as relevant today as when I first read it in my first year of teaching.

  4. Madman 2016-02-16 12:40

    Also North Carolina has used the student-teacher ratio to determine funding but its an even more confusing process then the South Dakota formula.

  5. leslie 2016-02-16 15:31

    Lotta confusion seemingly in this issue, medicaid expansion/Indian Health Service failure, EB5/MCEC fraud and perhaps other issues state administered that are failures that daugaard’s GOP is evading accountibility for….

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