Legislators, governor agree on education reform billNew math, science teachers could get $8,000 bonuses during first five years.
By: News release, Office of SD Gov. Dennis Daugaard
PIERRE — Legislative leaders and Gov. Dennis Daugaard have agreed to a package of amendments to HB 1234, the education reform bill that the governor proposed earlier this year.
“This proposal maintains the governor’s goal to focus on student achievement by investing in teaching,” said Senate majority leader Russell Olson. “The Legislature is offering its ideas to reach that goal.”
“Legislators reached out to educators and to their constituents for feedback and ideas,” said House majority leader David Lust. “We have responded to those ideas, while still focusing on student achievement.”
Daugaard applauded the Legislature’s efforts.
“My goal is to strategically invest in teachers to improve student achievement, and this proposal meets that goal,” Daugaard said. “This is the legislative process at work, and I appreciate the effort that our legislators put into crafting these proposals.”
The House Education Committee is scheduled to hear testimony on the issue today.
Included in the governor’s proposal:
Math and Science Teacher Incentive Program
• Replaces the governor’s $3,500 annual bonus with a plan to attract new teachers into math and science education.
• New math and science teachers qualify for $8,000 annual bonuses, for their first five years of teaching, so long as they teach at a South Dakota public school.
• This program applies to certified middle and high school math and science teachers. It also applies to any teachers, including elementary teachers, who have a math or science specialist endorsement.
• This payment of $8,000 for five years is meant to help new teachers pay off their student loans and get established in their careers. The hope is that a five-year incentive will anchor good, young teachers in their communities.
Top Teachers Reward Program
This proposal gives every school flexibility. Schools have three choices:
• Participate in the program the governor proposed: $5,000 annual bonuses for the top 20 percent of teachers, based on evaluations and student assessment.
• Opt-out of the incentive bonus program entirely. Any school board can vote to opt out of the program entirely. The funds that would have gone to that district will instead be distributed to other districts, pro rata, to make their bonuses larger.
The third choice is for schools to create their own plans:
• School districts can propose their own plans to promote student achievement.
• These plans must be based upon student achievement and teacher evaluations, or upon market-based needs of the districts, or both.
• This allows districts to use a sliding scale for bonuses, reward teachers in other highneeds areas, or propose other creative approaches to meet local needs.
• Every local plan will be reviewed by an Oversight Board that includes legislators and will be subject to approval by the South Dakota Secretary of Education.
Other provisions of the agreement:
Maintains the governor’s proposals relating to continuing contract (“tenure”), and relating to teacher and principal evaluation.