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Noem Forgives Scheming Teachers, Offers 6% Raises

Governor Kristi Noem has spent the past year blaming South Dakota teachers for the January 6 insurrection and accusing them of scheming to foist radical leftist ideology on our helpless children.

But all must be forgiven, because Noem is now offering those radical schemers a 6% pay increase to fight inflation and our sinking teacher pay ranking:

In her Tuesday budget address, Governor Kristi Noem announced her proposal for a 6% increase in pay for state workers, as well as for education. This has served as a point of interest for many, as South Dakota falls dead last in the U.S. in average teacher pay according to the National Education Association.

With an average teacher salary of $48,984, a 6% pay raise would mean an extra $2,939.04/year for teachers [Jacob Newton, “Will South Dakota Educators Really Get a 6% Raise in 2022?” KELO-TV, 2021.12.08].

Relieved at the Governor’s apparent change in tone toward teachers, South Dakota school officials are scrambling like teachers clawing for dollar bills on a hockey rink to praise the Governor’s federally facilitated largesse as a proper recognition of the good work South Dakota teachers have been doing all along:

On a normal day, we superintendents engage in discussion about how we can politely encourage our state legislature to invest just a few more percentage points in dollars to fund tomorrow’s leaders and South Dakota’s workforce: the children who shuffle through the halls of our schools every day. The governor also pointed out our strong economy and low unemployment rate; those numbers rank among the top in the nation. Generations of South Dakotans have been “raised right” and educated well, and those numbers reflect that.

Taxpayer dollars fund education, and the governor’s recommendation for educational funding sets a precedent, one that can be continued in the future while keeping a balanced budget in South Dakota. This recommendation is the highest a governor has made to the legislature that anyone knows of, or can recall, according to the most veteran superintendents in the group that convened yesterday. To Governor Noem, all the school superintendents present at our meeting appreciated your words and recommendation to the legislature [Northwest Area Schools Superintendent Ryan Bruns, “Salute to the Governor,” Rapid City Journal, 2021.12.11].

Even radical right-wing Rapid City school board president Kate Thomas, whose anti-education insurgent cabal wishes there were no federal or state ties to its school district, say Noem’s funding boost “would certainly benefit the District’s financial situation,” although she still manages to keep the radical fires burning by fretting about “what kind of accountability measures might get attached” to the proposed state aid.

Of course, if Governor Noem really means what she says and wants her teacher pay raise plan to achieve its objectives, she’ll need to include some sort of accountability measures to ensure that local school boards don’t throw the extra 6% in state aid toward building bigger gyms. She’ll also need to quit portraying teachers as enemies of the state out to fill our kids’ heads with destructive ideas like Lakota history and racial justice. And she’ll have to make sure her proposal doesn’t end up like Governor Daugaard’s teacher pay plan, which failed to keep up with inflation and our neighbors.

New Mexico’s Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan is proposing a 7% increase in teacher pay, with starting pay going up in some cases by 20%. Hmmm… even when she tries to think big, Governor Noem may not be thinking big enough.


  1. Joe 2021-12-13 08:22

    New Mexico is a poorer state than South Dakota: Lower per capita/household/family income; higher unemployment rate. South Dakota should at least be matching New Mexico’s teacher pay game.

  2. larry kurtz 2021-12-13 09:06

    We are flush with oil and gas cash right now while South Dakota has to rely on the feds for surplus dollars, so there is that.

    Governors Lujan Grisham and Kristi Noem served in Congress at the same time and were always on opposite sides of nearly every issue including education but they enjoy nearly equal popularity right now. Gov. Lujan Grisham doesn’t have anyone in her own party running against her like Mrs. Noem does and we are moving to plug our brain drain while South Dakota doesn’t care about that.

  3. Porter Lansing 2021-12-13 09:54

    “Generations of South Dakotans have been “raised right” – Northwest Area Schools Superintendent Ryan Bruns

    A large part of “white supremacy” is manipulating schools, to keep white kids ignorant of how much white adults “stack the deck” and stand on the neck of BIPOC kids.

  4. Mark Anderson 2021-12-13 10:10

    Well Larry at least neither state is up to Montana standards. Women professors suing the brick wall for careers, female law students suing, various professors making misogynist statements. Its crazy, the latest guy from Idaho, a political science yahoo,, Scott Yenor, who spoke at a conservative conference in Orlando said “every effort must be made not to recruit women into engineering” that’s just the start “ditto for med school, and the law, and every trade”. He would grade fairly right? What’s with those mountain states? The air must be too thin for brains to function. The school board in Rapid isn’t that high is it?

  5. larry kurtz 2021-12-13 10:34

    It is a struggle to find any good news from Montana right now and every morning I skim at least twenty newspapers from the Flathead Beacon to the Ekalaka Eagle hoping to find something, anything that brings hope.

    The Montana Democratic Party is in pretty good financial shape but candidates are hesitant to put themselves into harm’s way, literally.

  6. Joe 2021-12-13 13:42

    The “Dash for Cash” story is quickly turning into SD’s latest “Meth, We’re On It” national embarrassment. What next??

  7. mike from iowa 2021-12-13 15:23

    NPR says Noem gets 14.4% of school budget from blue states via the hated Fed. One of the highest amounts in Hated By Magats America. Socialism makes deniers out of denying, lying magats of all stripes.

  8. mike from iowa 2021-12-13 15:26

    I can see magat lege parcel out 6% teacher raise over 5 years and after the very first year tell teachers inflation and grift ate the rest of their pay raise. better luck next time, teachers.

  9. Porter Lansing 2021-12-13 18:19

    As Marie points out:

    Ridicule is a valid persuasion technique.

  10. Guy 2021-12-13 19:53

    It would be nice to one day elect another South Dakota Governor who was HUMBLE, HONEST and SELFLESS. A person who was passionate about serving full-time and more interested in traveling across our great state instead of the nation. We have had people in the past who have served in a humble compacity and put the time in to truly help all of our citizens. These people were so passionate about South Dakota, they did not have time to think about campaign events in other states and they could care less. What it would be like to have one of these humble and hard-working public servants more interested in the daily concerns and affairs of South Dakotans rather than flying off to capture millions in campaign dollars to create and maintain an false image of royalty. Yes, we once had down-to-earth people serving South Dakota – you know, those kind of people you could HONESTLY relate to. People that I could trust with my taxpaying dollars to spend them on helping build better infrastructure for the citizens instead of spending our money to decorate a Governor’s residence to look like a royal palace. We will get there again one day because the fantasy will not live on forever.

  11. grudznick 2021-12-13 20:06

    Sounds like Mr. Guy is talking about Messrs. Daugaard and Haugaard.

  12. Guy 2021-12-13 20:13

    Well, Grudz… I’m certainly not talking about the the little person who seems to be in a big hurry to get somewhere, anywhere but South Dakota.

  13. John 2021-12-13 20:31

    This perhaps well intentioned, but clearly tone deaf public teachers grovel for classroom funds aggrieves and angers me to no end.
    My grandparents saw their way out of generational repetitive rural poverty – was education. My grandfather’s father was an uneducated laborer who dragged his family across the continent looking for greener grass. His earlier father “signed” his citizenship application and citizenship paper by making his “X”. We have the documents. My grandparents, youngest in their families, having benefit of the failures before them, worked hard to graduate from high school, then “normal school” (college or a version of community college), taught rural schools — paying forward to bring others out of rural poverty, then after years of summer study and sacrifice, my grandfather earned his masters and doctorate from UNL, and received a professorship at NSTC (NDSU). My grandparents dedication to education produced a son who was a state supreme court justice (after surviving 2 shoot downs and a mid-air in WWII, and a son Korean War vet who became a dentist.)
    Seeing teachers grovel on the floor for ones to use for purchasing school supplies strongly signals to me that the US is past its apogee. It’s past the time for my adult children to consider finding a nation that values education.

  14. Porter Lansing 2021-12-13 20:47

    But, 3/4 of SD voters think that was the funniest, and most deservedly demeaning thing they’ll see, this Christmas.

    They think that South Dakota teachers deserve the lowest pay in America’s fifty states because teachers are liberals and liberals think they’re better than Republicans and are always talking down to them.

  15. Arlo Blundt 2021-12-13 23:43

    Truly an election year proposal. Hope the teachers can benefit and the legislature follows through. Doubt it.

  16. grudznick 2021-12-14 06:41

    Watching those teachers crawling about to scramble for free money was almost the funniest thing ol’ grudznick has seen in a long time. Having it take less than one week from the announcement that all teachers will get big raises for the whiners to come out clamoring for more is the funniest. grudznick says no big raises for ALL teachers. Give bigger raises to those in the highest levels of the SILT scale. When the whining stops the raises might continue.

  17. John 2021-12-17 14:49

    Electric school buses.
    South Dakota should spend its millions to retrofit school buses to electric. The benefits are too numerous to mention so glance at the videos.
    The biggest advantage is to the children’s health from not breathing the diesel exhaust fumes. Exhaust exposure reduces IQ. For every IQ point lower, ones lifetime earning potential is lower.
    Here’s one way to move the needle to get electric school buses as done by an entrepreneur in South Carolina:

    Here’s video of The Magic School Bus documenting the savings to the school district, lives, and health:

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