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School Administrators Talk Funding, Teacher Shortages

August 7, 2014, 5:00 PM by Matt Holsen

School Administrators Talk Funding, Teacher Shortages

Hundreds of school board members and administrators from across South Dakota gathered in Sioux Falls Thursday for an annual convention. The theme this year focuses on standup up for public education.

The state of education in South Dakota was on many minds today as board members and administrators from all over met to discuss key issues. On the top of the list: Funding.

"We need to have more funding from the state level so that we can pay our teachers, get them past that 50th rank that we're currently at," Lutkemeier said.

Denise Lutkemeier, Wilmont School Board President and incoming President of the Associated School Boards of South Dakota, says teacher salaries in her area start at around $30,000 and that's not enough. She'll be encouraging others this year to motivate legislators in Pierre.

"To make them contact our legislators, get them to push the message out that we need more consistent funding. Not just one-time funding, we need more consistent funding from them," Lutkemeier said.

Eric Stroeder from the Mobridge-Pollock school board says his district battles being rural and being so close to North Dakota when it comes to attracting teachers. The district struggled to hire math teachers last year.

"And so we're losing a lot of people to that area because you can go 100 miles away and make $10,000 a year more. It's just teaching and doing the same thing much less if you go into private industry then you can even make more than that," Stroeder said.

While funding and teacher shortages were some of the main topics, another topic included keeping local control.

"People in general like it when it's the local boards and local people. Somebody down the street that they know is actually running the school. I hope that doesn't change," Stroeder said.

The convention runs through Friday and starts with sessions at 8:30 a.m.

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