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Sioux Falls Battling Teacher Shortage with Early Hiring, Incentives, Higher Average Pay

The Sioux Falls school district has been trying to beat South Dakota’s teacher shortage by beating other schools to the hiring punch:

With such low unemployment across the region and many open positions in every industry, the Sioux Falls school district has been aggressively hiring for the 2023-2024 school year.

“We’re sitting in a great position. We have filled 81 positions so far, we still have 42 open teaching positions,” Dorman said.

While they still have some hiring to do yet this summer, the Sioux Falls School District started hiring earlier than ever before for the upcoming school year.

“We were starting even last fall, hiring for next fall,” Dorman said []Bridget Bennett, “Sioux Falls School District Ahead on Hiring for Next School Year,” KELO-TV, 2023.05.12].

…and offering sweeter deals to good teacher candidates:

That proactive approach is especially evident in special education, where it’s the hardest in the nation to find educators.

“The need is always greater than the supply of candidates,” Dorman said. “So we do tuition reimbursement for getting your special education degree, hiring bonuses for being a special education teacher, to help mitigate some of those smaller applicant pools” [Bennett, 2023.05.12].

Surprisingly, Sioux Falls does not offer the highest teacher salaries in South Dakota. According to the South Dakota Department of Education, the baseline teacher salary for public school teachers in Sioux Falls last year was $41,000, tying Sioux Falls with Kadoka, Garretson, Castlewood, and Andes Central for 65th in the state. All the adjoining districts other than Garretson offered higher baseline salaries in AY2022:

  • West Central: $42,000
  • Baltic: $42,085
  • Tri-Valley: $44,000
  • Lennox: $44,900
  • Tea: $45,019
  • Harrisburg: $46,650
  • Brandon Valley: $47,271

But Sioux Falls evidently moves teachers up from that baseline salary pretty quickly: according to the DOE’s district profile data for AY2022, Sioux Falls paid an average teacher salary of $54,280, sixth-highest in the state and well above South Dakota’s average teacher pay of $50,599. The only nearby district where teachers do better is Brandon Valley, which offered an average teacher salary of $56,460. The other better payers are all in West River:

  • Dupree: $55,888
  • Eagle Butte: $56,712
  • Douglas: $58,020
  • Oglala Lakota: $61,438

Apply now at Sioux Falls, work hard for a few years, and you, too, can aim for teacher pay that beats what most other South Dakota school districts offer. Or you can head east and make an average of $64,184 in Minnesota… or head anywhere other than West Virginia or Mississippi and make more than South Dakota’s average.


  1. P. Aitch 2023-05-13 09:00

    The average Teacher salary in Denver, CO is $58,344 as of today, but the salary range typically falls between $48,786 and $71,135. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.

  2. larry kurtz 2023-05-13 13:21

    It’s difficult to imagine christianic religionists like Paul TenHaken not chortling as they watch public education dying in my home state.

    The concept of a charter school began in 1971 as a progressive movement but especially in red states has since been hijacked by the far white wing of the Republican Party to advance the New Apostolic Reformation. Dominion theology supposes christians must control the seven “mountains” of government, education, media, arts and entertainment, religion, family, and business in order to establish a global christianic theocracy and prepare the world for Jesus’ return

  3. larry kurtz 2023-05-13 14:00

    So, if property taxes go to public schools why isn’t there a stronger effort among Dominionists to simply end them instead of lobbying for vouchers?

  4. grudznick 2023-05-13 14:25

    The fatcat administrators have enough sway to keep the property taxes coming to their districts where they can gobble them up in huge salaries and cushy perky benefits, leaving lesser amounts for even the teachers highest on the SILT scale.

  5. Mark Anderson 2023-05-13 21:43

    Why would anyone want to teach in a red state. What’s the point? Teach in a state where you can teach the truth and without being investigated for showing a Disney movie to students.

  6. ABC 2023-05-14 02:44

    July 1, get your extra 3 cents per $10 spent on sales tax, parlay it up into a fortune!

    Set up private schools, pay higher wages!

    Ask your self, 3 cents am I rich?

    Binary. No, then you think like 99 percent. It isn’t much. Poverty thinking.

    Yes! Then you see the 3 cents easily becoming 3 million dollars a year, helping many people, joyful living!

    Choose Yes! Be rich always!

  7. Richard Schriever 2023-05-14 07:32

    The private schools pay lower, w/ fewer benefits – IIRC from some other posts here. If vouchers redistribute the same $$ per student as public schools they are taken from, does that mean the fat cat administrators of those schools are even greedier grudz?

  8. CK 2023-05-14 23:20

    My friend works at a Catholic Pre-K-5 school as a music teacher. She finally makes $40k after 5 yrs there.

  9. Mike Lee Zitterich 2023-05-15 18:26

    Teachers are are paid good money in S.D earning $40-50,000 a year. Thats good money for a set annual salary…

    This young generation arr just goofy…

    Just talked to a 28 year old man, a mechanic. He makes $17/hr as a mechanic. I told him my brother may Hite him and give him 40% flat rate. That means 40% of $110/hour. He said he rather do typical hourly rate. I am thinking. What is wrong with younger generation? Do they now know 40% of $110/hr is $44 per hour? Stay busy as a mechanic you earn $1760 a week and not $680. Given you got good and bad weeks. Buy still make more than an hourly wage. And shops get better help at flat rate.

  10. larry kurtz 2023-05-15 19:30

    Testing boundaries sharpens instincts.

    You’ve got the makings of a stump speech, Mr. Zitterich so can get on the general election ballot for South Dakota’s US House sear for as few as 50 signatures.

  11. O 2023-05-15 20:13

    MLZ: “Thats good money for a set annual salary…” It is so long as you do not factor in the education cost to enter the profession, the opportunity cost of taking the job here and not across ANY SD border, and the expectation of the job.

  12. grudznick 2023-05-15 20:35

    That $40K salary should be for teachers below the “Average” level on the SILT scale. Average, maybe $50K. Those “Above Average”, in the “Good”, “Very Good”, “Very Very Good”, and “Excellent” levels should get correspondingly higher pay.

  13. O 2023-05-15 20:40

    And how far does the merit-delusion-inspired SILT scale say a Very, Very Good and Excellent teacher should earn above the $50K average?

  14. P. Aitch 2023-05-15 20:48

    “The South Dakota Myth Is Real – There’s no Hope, Just Say Nope”
    States with low wages and low cost of living often find themselves at a severe disadvantage in the national marketplace. This stems from the fact that they lack the purchasing power that comes in states having higher wages and greater cost of living. As a result, residents from these rural states find themselves priced out of the market for essential goods such as airline tickets, automobiles, and electronics – items that are often essential for daily life in the modern world. In effect, they are trapped in a cycle of poverty that prevents them from accessing even basic necessities, let alone luxuries. Despite this, many of these residents remain hopeful that one day their situation will change, and they will have access to the same opportunities as those who live in states with higher wages and cost of living. It will never happen!

  15. larry kurtz 2023-05-15 21:10

    Hey Mr. Z, we of the outer galaxies designate to you the wisdom of Solomon and the strength of Atlas.

  16. grudznick 2023-05-15 22:01

    3 and 4 notches higher respectively, Mr. O. Since it’s a scale, it is scaleable.

  17. O 2023-05-16 07:53

    Mr. Grudznick, you denote the payment for the first two notches at $40K and $50K. That keeps the SD salaries WELL below the meager level they are now. I just wanted to know how you dole out the funds for those last notches. Under SILT and the grudznick application, what salaries would teachers see?

  18. grudznick 2023-05-16 12:48

    Mr. O is correct that the first two notches getting pay would be at $40k and $50k because the lowest notch would be fired.

    You just add on scaleable notches, Mr. O.

    Poor = fired, union be damned
    Below Average = $40k
    Average = $50k
    Good = one notch higher
    Very Good = two notches higher
    Very Very Good = three notches higher
    Excellent = a full four, count ‘em, four notches higher

    Our most excellent teachers would be making $90k

  19. larry kurtz 2023-05-16 12:55

    1) in most cases middle schools should be eliminated
    2) high schools should insist on business casual except on Fridays
    3) girls and boys, women and men in public schools should be instructed in separate classrooms
    4) school boards should have an elected representative from the high school student population
    5) teachers must be union members and reflect ethnic diversity in the classroom
    6) districts should have the flexibility to experiment with curricula, including year-round sessions
    7) American Indian languages should meet the world language requirement

  20. O 2023-05-16 13:12

    I shall now mark on the calendar that today grudznick and I agreed that teachers in SD should be making $90K.

  21. Mike Lee Zitterich 2023-05-16 15:13

    I would not mind seeing a refocus of the Grad School Concept come back like it was prior to 1995…

    Grad School – Kindergarten through 6th Grade – focus placed on Basic Math, Writing, Reading, Science, Real (truth) American History

    Junior High School – 7th Grade to 9th Grade; focus should be on Language Arts, Science, Civics, World History, Shop, Home Mechanics, Wood Works, Small Engine Mechanics, Art

    Senior High School – 10th Grade to 12th Grade – Expanded Mathematics (Algebra, Biology, American Literature, Government, State Constitution, Basic Human Development/Male-Female Biology

  22. Arlo Blundt 2023-05-16 15:43

    One thing about school issues: Everybody’s been there and, from that experience, everyone has an opinion. That’s why it’s so tough to reach a consensus on what, exactly, school’s should do. So…we put them in charge of everything in a child’s life and try to hold school personnel accountable for all of the problems of society. For proof of my thesis, please review the present controversy relative to halting mass shooting tragedies by arming all school personnel.

  23. grudznick 2023-05-16 17:36

    Mr. O, a fellow respected as falling very high on the SILT scale, typed:

    I shall now mark on the calendar that today grudznick and I agreed that teachers in SD should be making $90K.

    I too, marked it on my calendar, which is one I was sent free in the mail from some money-grubbing outfit. However, Mr. O, add a little sticky to your calendar that it is only the Most Excellent teachers who should make $90k. Like you and probably Mr. H if he was still a teacher. Those lowest, should be fired, and those below average should get $40K until they work harder and get better.

  24. grudznick 2023-05-16 17:59

    An old fellow I once knew, Stebbins was his name, told me:

    Teachers play a crucial role in shaping the future of our society by educating and inspiring the next generation. While there is a common belief that teachers are underpaid, it is important to consider a broader perspective that highlights the various factors contributing to their overall compensation and job satisfaction.

    Firstly, teachers receive a competitive salary compared to other professions with similar education and experience requirements. While it is true that entry-level teachers may start with a modest salary, their earnings increase steadily over time. In many countries, there are clear salary scales that reward teachers for gaining additional qualifications and years of service. Furthermore, teachers often receive benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid vacation, which contribute to their overall compensation package.

    Moreover, it is crucial to consider the non-monetary benefits of a teaching career. Teachers have the privilege of making a positive impact on young minds, fostering creativity, critical thinking, and knowledge acquisition. The intrinsic rewards derived from witnessing students’ growth and development are often immeasurable and can outweigh financial considerations. The opportunity to shape the future and leave a lasting impact on society is a significant motivational factor for many educators.

    Additionally, teachers benefit from job security and stability. Education is a fundamental pillar of society, and the demand for qualified teachers remains relatively constant. While teachers may face challenges such as budget cuts or changes in educational policies, their job prospects are generally more secure compared to other professions affected by economic fluctuations or technological advancements.

    Furthermore, the teaching profession often offers various opportunities for career advancement and professional development. Teachers can pursue advanced degrees, certifications, and leadership roles, which can lead to higher salaries and increased job satisfaction. Many school districts and educational institutions provide support for professional growth through workshops, conferences, and mentoring programs. These opportunities contribute to the overall value and attractiveness of the teaching profession.

    Lastly, it is essential to acknowledge that the perception of teachers being underpaid varies across different regions and countries. While some areas may struggle to offer competitive salaries due to limited budgets or socioeconomic factors, others prioritize investing in education and compensate teachers fairly. The overall remuneration of teachers should be evaluated within the context of the local economy, cost of living, and the available resources allocated to education.

    In conclusion, while there may be instances where individual teachers feel underpaid, it is important to recognize the various factors that contribute to their overall compensation and job satisfaction. Teachers often receive competitive salaries, enjoy non-monetary benefits, experience job security, and have opportunities for career growth. The impact they make on students’ lives and the potential for personal fulfillment further highlight the value of the teaching profession beyond monetary compensation.

    grudznick does not disagree.

  25. All Mammal 2023-05-16 18:37

    I wonder if Mr. Stebbins can try that ‘teachers are paid in priceless experiences and get the gift of witnessing growth’ BS with any predominantly male occupation. Ain’t no man working for intangibles. Teacher pay can be summed up by stating the obvious: cheapskates hate to pay a woman and kids don’t have any money, so they aren’t important.

    Look at the communities with heavy focus and investment in education and compare how that looks next to SD. If the side by side comparison doesn’t convince you which pony to place your bet on, you must own a glue factory.

  26. O 2023-05-16 21:17

    I will now put to use the critical thinking skills instilled by the truly great teachers of my past and draw two conclusions about your friend Stebbins: 1) Stebbins never taught — or at least never made a career of it; 2) Stebbins speaks of a romanticized time of American education — one that does not exist today (if it ever did).

    To treat teaching as a calling, to put it in league with other callings that ask for sacrifices of secular joys is to excuse its status as a profession of the same import of those who make a good coin doing great work. In a capitalist society, value is measured by the coin. As the wise Superintendent from Watertown noted (from the next post from Cory on the topic), smart, dedicated professionals find themselves in a competitive market for their skills; the capitalist system must answer this shortage through capitalist solutions. Relying on callings has resolved us to shortage in which we sit now.

  27. grudznick 2023-05-16 22:28

    Stebbins was just an old fellow I knew. He was not grudznick’s friend.

    Many older teachers today, who are not members of the Union of Teachers led by Mr. Pogany, which is all about the coin, are in it for the calling. They have a deep seated understanding of what kids really need.

    The old fellow I knew, name of Stebbins, often opined:

    Some teachers are just in it for the big bucks and the summers off, but ultimately, teaching is a noble profession where the mission of educating and shaping young minds is at the forefront. The desire to make a difference and inspire students is a significant motivation for teachers. However, it is crucial to recognize that financial considerations are also important for teachers to sustain their careers and provide the best education possible. The balance between the mission of teaching and the need for financial stability varies among individuals, but both aspects contribute to the overall commitment and dedication of teachers.

    To be clear, I mean Stebbins the elder, not the younger, as they have differing opinions on this topic.

  28. M 2023-05-17 05:54

    “In conclusion, while there may be instances where individual teachers feel underpaid, it is important to recognize the various factors that contribute to their overall compensation and job satisfaction. Teachers often receive competitive salaries, enjoy non-monetary benefits, experience job security, and have opportunities for career growth. ”

    This is bull. Unless you’ve been a teacher in this crappy state, you have no idea what you are talking about. In 21 years, I’ve met FEW women in administrative positions. Where are the promotions and career growth? You think we should get graduate and doctorate degrees and stay in this system for a pitiful paycheck? And what non-monetary benefits are you referring to? If it’s insurance, well even the snow plow driver in every small town gets that.

    And don’t get me started on job security. I’ve seen teachers released from contract for the slightest reasons.

    JUST ABOUT EVERY TEACHER I KNOW HAS TWO JOBS TO PAY THE BILLS. How about all of you men? Did you work or do you still work 2 jobs to survive and pay the student loans?

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