Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - April 3, 2020 


Son-in-law Jared Kushner takes on a major role in Trump's fight with COVID-19. Also, emergency funding for people who can't pay their rent because of the pandemic.

2020Talks - April 3, 2020 


The Democratic National Committee delayed its July convention in Milwaukee until August. Wisconsin has a primary this Tuesday, but hasn't cancelled or delayed in-person voting like many other states have done.

Report: How Fair Is South Dakota School Funding?

in 2016, South Dakota lawmakers implemented a new half-cent sales tax to improve teacher pay, the state's first sales tax increase since 1969. (Tom Griffith/sdnewswatch.org)
in 2016, South Dakota lawmakers implemented a new half-cent sales tax to improve teacher pay, the state's first sales tax increase since 1969. (Tom Griffith/sdnewswatch.org)
December 30, 2019

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - South Dakota is doing an excellent job of distributing school funding, but a new report gives the state a failing grade for the amount of money it spends overall to maintain and support its school system.

"Making the Grade" is a 2019 report compiled by the Education Law Center. It shows levels spent on kindergarten through 12th grade vary greatly across the U.S., and contribute to disparities in resources, opportunities and outcomes.

In South Dakota, education association President Mary McCorkle says the state received an "A" grade for distribution of funding across school districts. But per-pupil spending was average and received a "C" grade, while the state got an "F" for its effort to adequately fund schools.

"It's based on the state's economic productivity, so the state has revenue," says McCorkle. "But there's not a commitment to education."

South Dakota spends about $13,000 per pupil each year, compared with $27,000 in Vermont - which has the highest per-pupil spending.

The state was not alone in receiving a failing grade for its effort to fund education. Colorado, Oklahoma, Washington and several other states were found to have the resources but not the will to support education at higher levels.

South Dakota's next legislative session begins on January 14, but Gov. Kristi Noem has already said her 2021 budget proposal will not include a raise in teacher salaries, which were the lowest in the nation before lawmakers overhauled the funding formula in 2016.

McCorkle says that means salaries will fall behind a commitment to keep teacher pay competitive. She doesn't believe South Dakota should be educating its best and brightest just to watch them find jobs elsewhere.

"We can continue to educate people and send them out of state," says McCorkle. "But if we want to build South Dakota then we have to invest in education because our educators are preparing the future citizens of the state for every single occupation."

South Dakota's statewide average public-school teacher salary target is about $49,000, compared with $60,000 nationwide.

Disclosure: South Dakota Education Association contributes to our fund for reporting on Education. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Roz Brown, Public News Service - SD