1/3 of Sioux Falls’ new teachers moved here from another state this summer


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Hundreds of millions of Americans quit their jobs over the summer in what’s being called the great resignation. It’s left job openings in nearly every industry across the country, including education.

It’s nearly October and the Sioux Falls School District is still looking to hire dozens of staff members to help better serve students. Before the school year started, they had even more openings and fewer applicants than usual.

“Losing teachers, that’s always a tough one,” Sioux Falls School District Human Resources Director Becky Dorman said. 

The Sioux Falls School District saw a noticeable increase in teacher turnover this year.

“I would say it was up about 15 to 20 percent more,” Dorman said. 

While the district may have lost more teachers than usual, it also gained an unexpected group.

“Well over a third were from another state, which is different for us. Usually it’s hovering right around 20 percent, so now we’re at a third of the people that we hired this year were from another state. That’s a significant increase for us in one years time,” Dorman said. 

Dorman says usually those out of state hires are moving back to Sioux Falls because of family or a spouse’s career, but this year the increase seems like a much different motivation.

“When you get a couple from Florida, you get a couple from Oregon, and you’re trying to figure out, they just don’t have a connection here, why are they here?” Dorman said. 

Dorman says she’s heard from some new hires that the pandemic was a major motivation, but there were quite a few factors.

“It almost felt like teachers were doing some research into what they were looking for now in a school district or what they were looking for in a state and then moving here,” Dorman said. 

Even thought the move to South Dakota comes with a smaller paycheck for teachers.

“Yes, it is a pay cut to come to South Dakota for teachers,” Dorman said. 

The National Education Association ranked South Dakota’s average teacher salary 50th in the nation, while California is the second highest paying states for teachers.

In tonight’s Eye on KELOLAND at 10, we look at what drew a California couple to Sioux Falls to teach, and why they say they’re better off, even with half the paycheck.

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