Challenged by the pandemic South Dakota teachers got some good news this week. Governor Kristi Noem is recommending one of the larger raises teachers have seen in recent years.

She made the announcement during her budget address yesterday before the state legislature

“I am recommending a 2.4% increase for state aid to education,” Noem said.

The recommendation to state lawmakers in Pierre is above the required one and a half percent raise teachers are supposed to get under state law.

To be clear, this is part of the governor’s “proposed budget” and it still has to be approved by state lawmakers.

“This investment will help ensure that local school districts have the resources necessary to educate our children and grandchildren,” Noem said.

The organization that represents South Dakota’s teachers sees this as a positive sign given that last year Noem’s budget did not include a boost for teachers.

“Working with the legislative process, it’s a long process. We are looking forward to working with the legislature and the governor through the whole process and hopefully it comes out at 2.4% or maybe even possibly better. You know, whatever we get for education is great for the students,” SDEA President Loren Paul said.

Paul says teachers are under a lot of stress right now, and they deserve some good news and a boost to morale.

“I think this helps a bunch, the morale, I mean people are just exhausted, the teachers are prepping for students in the classroom and students online learning and it’s more than twice the work,” Paul said.

The 2021 legislative session starts in 34 days in Pierre, educators are hoping lawmakers understand the challenges the state’s teachers are facing.