A South Dakota Senate committee has approved a bill that would give bonuses to top-performing South Dakota teachers, despite criticism from those who say the money should go to school districts' budgets and not to just a few teachers.
The amended version of Gov. Dennis Daugaard's merit-pay plan would spend $15 million to create scholarships for college students who pursue teaching degrees in critically needed subjects.
It would also provide a $2,500 annual bonus for high-achieving math and science teachers.
The top 20 percent of each school district's teachers would receive $5,000 annual bonuses, giving districts the choice to follow that or not. The bill also sets up state-sponsored training for educators and phases out tenure by 2016.
Lawmakers voted 5-2 Thursday, sending it next to the Senate floor.