PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The state Board of Technical Education has an offer it wants to make to the South Dakota Legislature.

If lawmakers provide the four public technical colleges 7% more for state aid and for raising faculty and staff salaries in next year’s budget, the campuses won’t raise their state tuition and state fees.

That’s the deal the board backed 8-0 Thursday.

The board’s full ask of $21.9 million more in additional ongoing funding now goes to the state Bureau of Finance and Management and to the governor’s office for review. A meeting between them is scheduled for September 15.

If Governor Kristi Noem agrees, the proposal would move forward for legislators to consider in the 2023 session that opens January 10.

The Legislature, at the governor’s suggestion, provided a 6% increase this year.

The proposed freeze wouldn’t apply to local fees, according to the board’s executive director, Nick Wendell.

Lake Area Technical College president Mike Cartney said the campuses need some flexibility to address inflation on supplies used in classes, whether aircraft fuel or metals. “A lot of it’s consumables, and that’s what’s going up,” he said.

Board member Brian Sandvig of Milbank said that even a 5% increase year over year sounded strong but fits the current market.

Board president Dana Dykhouse of Sioux Falls said the Legislature likely would want a uniform approach.

“I don’t see the other state employees getting five percent and we’re getting seven,” Dykhouse said. “It will be a negotiating point, without a doubt.”

Board member Terry Sabers of Mitchell pointed out that a 7 percent raise applied to a $30/hour rate for an instructor is roughly $2 and the campuses need to keep pace with the market. “All of our instructors are vulnerable to leave,” Sabers said.