Sioux Falls, SD
A teacher pay and incentive plan has the Sioux Falls School Board on the defensive.
During his State of the State speech earlier this month, Governor Dennis Daugaard used data from the previous 40 years showing statewide enrollment went down while per pupil spending rose. He proposed incentive pay for the state's top 20 percent of teachers, and bonuses for math and science teachers. Enrollment in the Sioux Falls School district has increased since the 1970s. The board says the governor's data does not support his funding plan and they do not believe his proposed incentives will work.
"We're defending ourselves against something we shouldn't have to defend ourselves against, and that's a little disappointing," Sioux Falls School Board Vice President Doug Morrison said.
Daugaard rolled out a slight school funding increase in his budget address and a teacher incentive pay plan during his State of the State. The Sioux Falls School Board has already said his funding system doesn't go far enough.
"To me, it looks very much like a one size fits all and not something to enhance local control," Board President Kent Alberty said during the Monday meeting.
Board members believe the governor's proposed program to award the top 20 percent of teachers and provide bonuses for math and science educators are mandates that will not work because they do not start early enough.
"I'm all for paying math and science teachers more money, but I'm in favor of paying every teacher more money, right?" Morrison asked.
The governor's speech pointed to a nearly 85 percent increase in per pupil spending over the last 40 years, with no increase in results. The board does not believe that is a good comparison, so it made its own.
"You took the state back prior to its biggest mandate, and schools to the biggest mandate to do a comparison," district Business Manager Todd Vik said.
Vik told the board looking at similar data shows per capita state government spending grew by more than a hundred percent during the same time frame.
"It's not the same old system. It's not related to the system of 40 years ago," board member Darin Daby said.
Daugaard's proposed budget also includes a 2.3 percent increase in state aid even though the district believes it to be closer to a .8 percent increase when you account for one-time payments in previous budgets.