Last updated on 2013.01.29
Governor Dennis Daugaard says that one purpose of his merit bonus proposal for the top 20% of teachers in each school district is "to attract more of our talented young people into the teaching profession."
Let's review the average salaries for teachers (academic year 2011) in South Dakota and surrounding states:
|State||Avg teacher pay 2010-11||Cost of Living 2010 Q4 (US = 100)||Avg. teacher pay adjusted for cost of living||Regional Price Parity 2005-9||Avg. teacher pay adjusted for RPP|
So suppose you're a young person considering a career in teaching. You compare Governor Daugaard's offer with the average pay in surrounding states. You could stay in South Dakota and have a one-in-five chance of getting an extra $5,000 a year. Or you could go to any adjoining state and have a one-in-one chance of getting at least $9,000 a year. Factor in regional price parity, and even if you get the $5,000 bonus, you still have $3,146 less in purchasing power than your slacker colleagues across the border in Montana.
Of course, if you go into teaching math, you get another $3,500 under Daugaard's plan every year. But if you're that good at math, you'll recognize that the expected value of your hanging around in South Dakota is still $8,000 less than the average purchasing power you'll enjoy in a neighboring state.
And you'll realize that the Governor's math for attracting young people to teach in South Dakota doesn't add up.