In South Dakota, state aid to education outpacing inflation. Tax dollars go in at 32nd in the nation, come out 47th in pay

One of the fiscal questions that’s been out there for the upcoming state budget to be voted on by the South Dakota State Legislature regards how much will be out there for education in terms of what the state provides to local school districts via state aid to education.

The South Dakota Department of Education recently provided a snapshot of this funding over the past decade. And South Dakota has not only kept pace with inflation since 2011, state funding for education has outpaced inflation, even including the 2011 budget cuts.

With the state being 32nd in funding per student nationally, yet teacher salaries for the state are at 47th, it really does put the question about how much the state pays towards teacher salaries back on Districts.

If South Dakota is putting in state aid to education at the rate of 32nd in the nation, but school districts are paying teachers at 47th, the problem might not be the rate at which the state provides aid to education.

14 thoughts on “In South Dakota, state aid to education outpacing inflation. Tax dollars go in at 32nd in the nation, come out 47th in pay”

  1. Too much administration and too much spent on sports (meals, gas, motels, coachs and asst coaches).

  2. An important question to answer is what are we getting for the money we spend? I would like to see graduation rates, average test scores, ACT scores, etc. Without looking, I am going to hypothesize that scores are flat or declining over the same time frame regardless of the increase in spending. Im not convinced that high teacher salary is correlating with better results. Having said that, the answers to improve results are probably non-fiscal: less state and federal regulations imposed on local school district and more competition (a concept completely foreign to our public schools).

        1. While true, it does give a brief insight into where we stand. Tough to make many generalizations, but it is at least a point for discussion.

  3. If I was a teacher I’d be TICKED! All these years our admins telling us to get after the legislators and its our own admins keeping the money away from the TEACHERS!

  4. The problem is that the small schools have a high cost of education per student. They receive a 2800.00 allotment , but it may cost a small school over 9,000 dollars to educate that student. That is because when one figures in teacher pay, busing, books and materials, etc. the cost is much higher than that student being in a larger school.

    1. Actually it’s more expensive to hire staff and educators in larger cities because of some basic economic realities. A person has to be paid enough to cover the cost of living there. You can google and see what percent of typical income it takes to cover housing, which is the largest or one of the largest costs people incur.
      Housing costs are substantially higher in larger cities – a lot higher. Consequently all labor costs there are higher. The formula, because of political biases like the one expressed above, have always run contrary to basic economics.

      1. The argument doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. Larger districts in S.D. also tend to have larger tax bases to offset higher living costs. A lack of significant teacher salary differences between districts (which are publicly available) also undercut that argument. Furthermore, smaller districts bear the brunt of the turnover rate and shoulder most of the vacancy issues. Larger districts aren’t paying much more for per staff than their rural peer districts, their facility costs are lower per student (because more students are served per building), and they tend to have higher local property tax income streams. It’s more complicated than your Econ 101 pseudo-expertise suggests.

  5. Does “teacher salaries” include benefits? I don’t believe it does. If you were to factor in the annual increases for costs of health insurance alone, the total value of salary and benefits paid to teachers would far outpace the inflationary rate since 2011. I know that at my school district, the cost of health insurance coverage provided by the school has more than doubled during the years cited in the information above, and nearly tripled since 2008…

    1. South Dakota teacher pay is 47th in the nation. Their benefit’s increased significantly. The combination of both far exceed inflationary rate. Why do they continue ask for more of our tax dollars?

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