South Dakota still facing a teacher shortage even after new pay raise

Published: Jul. 28, 2016 at 7:30 PM CDT
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"This year our application numbers are about the same that they have been the last couple years," said Superintendent of the West Central School District Jeff Danielsen.

Danielsen says even though teachers in South Dakota are getting bigger paychecks, the candidate pool of qualified teachers has stayed the same.

"I think it's going to take a few years for the increased salaries to probably grow more the size of the pool," he said.

With the shortage of candidates, several districts have had to consider other options.

"There is a process called an alternative certification where by some one who has a major in the area but does not have the teaching endorsement is able to go through the department of educations and get certified in over the period of two years, so we have had to utilized that in the couple years," he said.

And that's because not many college graduates are pursuing a career in education due to the low wages.

Bob Sittig is the Superintendent of the Baltic School District, he says he also has yet to see an increase in numbers and hopes that with this new raise the newer generation will be motivated to take a path towards teaching.

"I think it's all about getting people to go into the teaching profession and that means talking to maybe junior and seniors in high school or freshman and sophomores in college," he said.

And also making sure the teachers they already have don't go anywhere.

"It's about compensating them for the job that they've done and making sure they stay here in South Dakota," said Sittig.