Teacher Shortage


August 13, 2015


Rapid City, SD. –  Rep. Elizabeth May, R-Kyle has a new proposal that seeks to address the teacher shortage facing South Dakota school districts.  “I am renewing the call for a Special Session of the Legislature because this problem is urgent…we don’t have the luxury of time,” May said, adding that “the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force is married to a process that will not produce any result until well into next year.  The Legislature is elected to be the people’s task force, and we can act on this immediately.”

May is proposing that the Legislature dedicate the $21 Million state surplus to an incentive program intended to draw experienced teachers out of retirement and back into South Dakota classrooms using temporary contracts.  Consultation with South Dakota Retirement System authorities, the Legislative Research Council, and others has affirmed that this is a viable plan to ensure there are experienced teachers in the classrooms when children return to school.

May calls it a “win-win-win” situation.  “Teachers win because they receive a signing bonus directly from the state and they will not lose any of their retirement by signing a temporary contract.  School districts win because they fill vacant positions and don’t have to pay into a retirement fund for these teachers.  Our kids win big because they have certified teachers with many years of experience to teach them.”

Rep. May expressed confidence that her legislative colleagues will be willing to convene a special session to augment the work of the Blue Ribbon Task Force with this stop-gap measure.