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Review Board recommends penalty adjustment for school districts that don’t pay enough

PIERRE, S.D. – The state Teacher Compensation Review Board unanimously adopted a modified version of its draft report to adjust the penalty for school districts that don’t pay enough. The penalty has never been triggered, according to board members.

The board meets every other year.  This week’s meeting is the third and final meeting of 2023.

According to State Education Secretary Joe Graves, the current penalty has no teeth to it and that the state Department of Education is looking at ways to strengthen it.  The current penalty for school districts that don’t meet the statewide target is subtraction of $500 in state aid for every teacher that the district employs. School districts can request a waiver.

In the report, South Dakota’s salaries were compared to those of other states in the region and factored in each state’s relative cost of living. In its conclusion, the difference in salary is smaller when comparing price parity, but South Dakota is still behind all surrounding states.

South Dakota teachers were lowest-paid in the nation in 2015, according to the National Education Association. South Dakota rose to 47th place in 2017 but dropped back to 48th in 2018, 50th in 2019, 49th in 2020 and 49th in 2021.

The board must deliver the final version of the report by September 30 to the Legislature and Governor Kristi Noem.


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