States

South Dakota Governor Proposes to Alter Funding Formula to Boost Teacher Pay

By Daarel Burnette II — February 04, 2016 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

This post was written by Stephen Sawchuk and originally appeared on the Teacher Beat blog.

Following up on a State of the State address in which teacher pay was a major theme, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard has unveiled a series of legislative proposals that would tie school funding to teacher salaries—a shift that would move the state’s overall funding mechanism away from a traditional per-pupil approach.

The main proposal would increase the sales tax by half a cent, as well as increasing other smaller taxes (an excise tax, a use tax, and an amusement tax). The funds would be sent to districts largely based on formula calculated off of a target average teacher salary, which would be keyed to a teacher-student ratio rather than per-pupil expenditures, as is the case in most states.

Here’s how it would work. The state’s target average teacher salary would begin at of $48,500, and the funding formula assumes a district would have a teacher-to-student ratio ranging from 12.5 to 1, to 15 to 1 based on district size. Depending on whether districts were able to maintain those ratios, actual teacher salaries could differ somewhat. For example, if a district decided to hire more teachers than under that ratio, they might have to pay their teachers less overall.

So let’s say you were a district with 700 students. Under the 15-to-1 staffing formula, you’d get enough cash to pay for about 47 teachers at the average salary of $48,500. (On top of that, the formula kicks in more for teacher benefits and overhead.)

Districts could also supplement teacher salaries in other ways.

In his address, Daugaard said that the system would not only help leverage higher salaries and improve recruiting, but increase accountability for how how schools are staffed. “This transparent formula will lead to more informed conversations among school leaders, teachers, parents, and taxpayers about local spending and staffing decisions. It will lead to greater accountability at the local level for decisions that impact teacher salaries,” he said.

In addition, he argued, the proposal would help equalize funding because both property taxes and other levies that vary from district to district would be accounted for in the calculation of local spending, before the state formula kicks in.

In all, the proposals aim to raise some $100 million in education funding. Of that, most of it would be put into salaries, while some $40 million of the funding would be used to reduce property taxes that currently fund general education.

South Dakota’s current average teacher salary is about $40,000—far lower than its neighbors, and reportedly the lowest in the United States.

So far, the Argus Leader reports, the proposal seems to have the backing of the state teachers’ union, and a survey commissioned by Daugaard shows that voters approve it. .

Lawmakers, on the other hand, have said that it could be challenging to push through a tax increase. And it’s also unclear whether the ratios could be harder for the smallest or most rural districts to meet.

Daugaard also proposed additional efforts to recruit and retain teachers, including:


  • Beefing up a mentoring program so that novice teachers got two years of assistance from a mentor, plus summer training;
  • Requiring the state to issue rules on how to grant licenses to teachers from other states; and
  • Expanding a state e-learning center offering courses that districts can use to help meet staffing demand in high-need disciplines.

Photo: South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard gives his budget address at the state Capitol in Pierre, S.D., in December. —James Nord/AP-File

for the latest news on teacher policy and politics.


For more coverage of states’ teacher-salary and finance formulas, see:


Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Evaluating Equity to Drive District-Wide Action this School Year
Educational leaders are charged with ensuring all students receive equitable access to a high-quality education. Yet equity is more than an action. It is a lens through which we continuously review instructional practices and student
Content provided by BetterLesson

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

States Bill to Restrict How Race and Racism Is Taught in Schools Headed to Texas Governor
If the "critical race theory" bill sounds familiar, that's because lawmakers passed a similar one during the regular legislative session.
Eleanor Dearman, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
4 min read
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference in Austin, Texas, on June 8, 2021.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference in Austin, Texas, on June 8, 2021.
Eric Gay/AP
States Infographic Which States Are Reporting COVID-19 Cases in Schools?
Some states are reporting the number of COVID-19 cases in their schools and districts. Use this table to find your state's data.
Image shows the coronavirus along with data charts and numbers.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
States From Our Research Center Map: A-F Grades, Rankings for States on School Quality
Here’s a map showing grades for all the states on this year’s Quality Counts summative report card, on which the nation gets a C overall.
EdWeek Research Center
1 min read
Illustration of students reading with pie chart.
Getty
States Nation Gets a 'C' on Latest School Quality Report Card, While N.J. Again Boasts Top Grade
A slight increase in this year's Quality Counts score isn't enough to boost the nation's school system above last year's middling grade.
8 min read
Illustration of students reading with pie chart.
Getty