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Three years after tax hike, South Dakota still lowest in teacher pay

Wade Pogany, Executive Director of the Associated School Boards of South Dakota.

PIERRE, SD – The “Teacher Compensation Review Board” met for the first time since 2018 on Friday in Pierre. The board was mandated by the Blue-Ribbon Commission in 2015 that came up with the increased teacher pay recommendations that were later passed by the legislature.

Board member, Aberdeen Schools Superintendent Becky Guffin says the board

needs to define their role.

“One of the reasons the Blue Ribbon Task Force started in the first place was for many, many, many years, teacher’s salaries were the very last in the country,” said Guffin, adding,  “You can see the good work that we’ve done.

It only took us three years to get back to last again.”

She continued, “If our goal is to move that needle, maybe that’s the discussion we need to have. Or maybe that’s not the goal of this group. I’m not sure.”

Board member, Senator David Wheeler of Huron, says the legislature may have to weigh in again.

“Do we need to push either school districts to get the salaries up to the target amount or do we push the legislature to provide more funding?  Or do we need to revise the target altogether? Those are the options.”

Wade Pogany, Executive Director of the Associated School Boards of South Dakota, told the group there are some basic questions they need to look at.

“Are we competitive enough to attract and retain teachers?” he asks.  “You want to have recruitment and retention.  If we are graduating 700 students in education but if over half of those folks never initiate a teaching certificate, they’re going somewhere.  Where are they going?”

The board plans to meet again next month and come up with a report to the Governor and legislature sometime in September.

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