After being on the bottom of the list for so many years our teachers’ salaries in South Dakota has risen in the last year. Really?

According to a recent report by the South Dakota Education Association South Dakota, teacher pay climbed to 48th among states for the first time in 30 years after the Legislature passed a half-penny sales tax to boost teacher salaries.  But the report says that without vigilance the progress could reverse itself and make it more difficult to retain good educators.

Mary McCorkle president of the South Dakota Education Association said the state is slightly more competitive but must still keep up or teachers will be lured away.

"Reaching or exceeding the average of our surrounding states," she said, "because that's where our educators look if they are considering a move based on salary."

South Dakota's average teacher salary increased by 11.8 percent during the 2016-17 school year - the largest increase of any state. Nonetheless, the Teacher Compensation Review Board found the average pay would have to increase by $8,500 a year to match the highest-paying states and $4,600 to reach the middle of the pack.

According to the report while South Dakota's teacher salaries are now more regionally competitive the state still has one of the lowest average teacher salaries in the nation. And even when adjusted for cost of living is lower than most surrounding states.

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