school funding

Rep. Mike Stevens, R-Yankton, during the 2023 legislative session. (Makenzie Huber/South Dakota Searchlight)

‘Puts accountability in place’: Bill tying teacher pay to state funding passes House

BY: - February 20, 2024

A bill tying teacher pay to annual increases in state funding passed the state House of Representatives with a 58-9 vote Tuesday. The bill, which now heads to a Senate committee, is a result of South Dakota drifting back down near the bottom in average teacher salary compared to the rest of the United States. […]

Dianna Miller, a lobbyist for the Large School Group, speaks to the state House Education Committee on Jan. 17, 2024. (Makenzie Huber/South Dakota Searchlight)

Teacher pay mandates pass committee without promise of new funding

BY: - February 14, 2024

A bill requiring public schools to raise teacher pay with no promise of new state funding passed a legislative committee Wednesday in Pierre. Nobody testified against the legislation, but several lobbyists representing the education community called it a work in progress. “It is not a perfect bill, but a compromise that will hopefully help us […]

Attendance liaison for Sioux Falls Whittier Middle School Suzannah Reaves goes over attendance data, checking who is in and out of school. (Courtesy of Sioux Falls School District)

One in five SD students is chronically absent. The state is awarding millions to address it.

BY: - January 5, 2024

Student absenteeism is one of the biggest problems facing South Dakota public education, said state Secretary of Education Joseph Graves. Chronic absenteeism among South Dakota students jumped from 14% during the 2018-2019 school year to 21% during the 2022-2023 school year. That increase is more pronounced among Native American students, whose chronic absenteeism rates jumped […]

The offices of the Rapid City Area Schools. (Kaylie Tupper/for South Dakota Searchlight)

School funding increases aren’t always what they appear

BY: - December 31, 2023

As a member of the Rapid City Area Schools Board of Education, I was pleased to hear that Governor Kristi Noem proposed a 4 percent increase to school funding during her budget address earlier this month. South Dakota continues to rank 49th in the nation for teacher pay, so any proposed increase to education is […]

An educator works with students at the George McGovern Middle School. (Courtesy of Sioux Falls School District)

Why South Dakota’s landmark teacher pay law failed

BY: - December 30, 2023

Inflation, turnover, minimal increases in state aid to education, and pay raises absorbed by non-teaching staff: Those are the reasons for South Dakota’s lagging teacher pay, according to education experts and school officials. The Legislature expected to infuse over $60 million into public K-12 education in the first year following 2016’s historic half-percent state sales […]