The Teacher Compensation Review Board finds we still aren’t living up to the promise of the 2016 sales-tax-for-teacher-pay plan. No matter which way you slice the data, South Dakota still values teachers and education less than any neighboring state.
The board met last week Friday to approve its report to the Legislature; it posted that final report to the Governor and Legislature Monday afternoon. Appended to the report are the slides the Department of Education presented to the board at its summer meetings. As I reported in July, the data in the first set of slides show South Dakota schools falling further behind the Legislature’s target teacher salary every school year since AY2019. That July presentation also showed South Dakota’s teachers get the lowest salaries and have the lowest purchasing power of any teachers in our seven-state region.
The August slides note that South Dakota’s 175 contracted instructional days fall in the middle of the regional pack, matching North Dakota and Wyoming; a week less than the 180 in Montana, Nebraska, and Iowa; but two weeks less than the 165 in Minnesota. Teachers generally dedicate more days than the contracted in-class days to preparing units and honing their pedagogical skills, but if we figure teacher pay on a daily basis, South Dakota pays teachers less per contracted day than all of its neighbors, even those with longer contracted school years:
Each contracted day, South Dakota teachers walk out of their classrooms with about $9 less than Montana teachers, $30 less than Nebraska teachers, and $100 less than Minnesota teachers.
Whatever job you do, imagine the boss walked in at the end of each work day and handed you a hundred-dollar bill on top of your regular pay. A hundred-dollar bonus every work day buys a lot of freedom. That’s the incentive South Dakota teachers have to apply for classroom openings in Minnesota.