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Airline travel and more disrupted by global tech outage; Nevada gets OK to sell federal public lands for affordable housing;Science Moms work to foster meaningful talks on climate change; Scientists reconsider net-zero pledges to reach climate goals.

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As Trump accepts nomination for President, delegates emphasize themes of unity and optimism envisioning 'new golden age.' But RNC convention was marked by strong opposition to LGBTQ rights, which both opened and closed the event.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

Following Noem Speech, SD Educators Press for Funding Increase

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Thursday, December 9, 2021   

PIERRE, S.D. - South Dakota's teachers' union says while there are still a lot of unknowns, it's hopeful the governor's new budget proposal leads to pay increases for teachers and support staff.

This week, Gov. Kristi Noem suggested a 6% increase in school district aid, with the idea of that money going toward higher pay for staff.

Loren Paul, president of the South Dakota Education Association, said schools still are struggling with a shortage of not only teachers, but also paraprofessionals, bus drivers, custodians and food workers.

And now, districts have to compete with other industries looking to boost pay to fill their vacant positions.

"And we're still trying to hire somebody at $12 and $13 an hour," said Paul. "So this is really needed to get some of those wages up so we can compete. "

As for teachers, South Dakota recently fell back to 50th in the nation when it comes to state-by-state pay rankings. Paul said it's expected that some lawmakers will push for smaller increases in state aid when the Legislature debates budget issues early next year.

The association stresses that even if the 6% increase is adopted by the state, districts do have discretion to spend the aid in other areas. Paul said many are feeling budget pressure in other ways.

"The cost of natural gas is gonna go up, and that costs the school districts more and everything," said Paul. "So I mean they have other overheads to worry about."

But he said the shortage of educators facing most school districts will make it harder for them to operate their buildings. He said he hopes that argument will convince school boards to boost wages if the state comes through with higher funding levels.



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.


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