More Teachers Retiring than Recruited

More than 30 percent of South Dakota's full-time educators are at least 51

MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) – Statistics from the South Dakota Department of Education show that the state’s teachers are nearing retirement at a faster pace than first-year teachers are being recruited.

Some educators are wondering if the South Dakota Legislature’s 2016 move to boost teacher pay came soon enough.

Last year, lawmakers passed a 0.5 percent sales tax increase in hopes that it would help South Dakota climb out of the lowest-in-the-nation ranking for average teacher pay.

According to the education department, the average national retirement age for teachers is 59, and more than 30 percent of South Dakota’s full-time educators are at least 51.

Corsica-Stickney teacher Mike Tuschen says the retirements mean school districts are preparing to lose a combined hundreds of years of experience and invaluable community connections.