According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the estimated average annual salary for South Dakota teachers is $39,580, lower than any other state. It is nearly half of what teachers in New York make.
Tara Rollinger is a middle school reading teacher at the Baltic School District. She comes to work everyday loving her job but, she says, one part of her job can sometimes bring her down.
"I do love my job, so that's what it comes down to. Would I love to make more? Do I feel like I deserve more? Yeah," Rollinger said.
Both she and her husband are teachers. With the average annual salary for teachers in South Dakota just around $39,000, they find other ways to make money.
"My husband and I both make a living. We have other jobs though. We both have other jobs outside of teaching in order to make ends meet," Rollinger said.
The Baltic superintendent and elementary principal Bob Sittig says he is concerned the low salary will eventually impact the students who walk through the doors.
"Eventually, that's going to affect the education of our students when we have less people to pick from when we select our teachers," Sittig said.
Rollinger says what it boils down to is not about the money.
"It really is about the students I'm teaching. However, do I think I deserve more as a teacher? Sure," Rollinger said.
The NCES is the primary federal group for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the United States.