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South Dakota’s teacher pay raise plan struggles to deliver

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) – Three years after South Dakota lawmakers overhauled the state’s education funding formula to raise teacher salaries, superintendents say the new system isn’t delivering as promised. And they’re trying to figure out how to cope if the underfunding continues.

The changes included a half-cent increase in the state sales tax. In the first year, salaries increased an average of 8.8 percent, raising South Dakota above last in the nation for average teacher salaries for the first time in nearly 30 years.

The changes also required the state to provide annual funding increases. The state fully funded them in its first year but not the second or third.

There’s now a $3.6 million gap between money promised and received, and superintendents aren’t sure how they’ll handle it.

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