Differential Pay: South Dakota

Retaining Effective Teachers Policy


The state should support differential pay for effective teaching in shortage and high-needs areas.

Meets a small part of goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Differential Pay: South Dakota results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/SD-Differential-Pay-9

Analysis of South Dakota's policies

South Dakota does not support differential pay by which a teacher can earn additional compensation by teaching certain subjects. However, the state has no regulatory language preventing districts from providing such differential pay.

A teacher can earn incentives by working in schools classified as high-needs. The state's Dakota ASSETS grant recruits and selects candidates to fill shortages in high-needs districts and schools, mainly in Western South Dakota. Participants are eligible for up to $5,000 in financial assistance in the form of scholarships and signing bonuses. Also, the Dakota Corps Scholarship provides full tuition and reimbursement for generally applicable fees to selected qualified applicants in high-needs schools.

Teachers who are National Board Certified are eligible to receive a $2,000 annual supplement. However, this differential pay is not tied to high-needs schools or subject-area shortages.


Recommendations for South Dakota

Support differential pay initiatives for effective teachers in subject shortage areas.
South Dakota should encourage districts to link compensation to district needs. Such policies can help districts achieve a more equitable distribution of teachers.

Expand differential pay initiatives for teachers in high-needs schools.
Although the state's program is a desirable recruitment and retention tool for teachers early in the career, South Dakota should expand its program to include those already part of the teaching pool. A salary differential is an attractive incentive for every teacher.

Consider tying National Board supplemenst to teaching in high-needs schools.
This differential pay could be an incentive to attract some of the state's most effective teachers to its low-performing schools.

State response to our analysis

South Dakota recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

Research rationale

Two recent studies emphasize the need for differential pay. In "Teacher Quality and Teacher Mobility", L. Feng and T. Sass find that high performing teachers tend to transfer to schools with a large proportion of other high performing teachers and students, while low performing teachers cluster in bottom quartile schools (CALDER: Urban Institute 2011).  Another study from T. Sass et al found that the least effective teachers in high-poverty schools were considerably less effective than the least effective teachers in low-poverty schools.

Charles Clotfelter, et al., "Would Higher Salaries Keep Teachers in High-Poverty Schools? Evidence from a Policy Intervention in North Carolina," Sanford Institute of Public Policy, Duke University, May 16, 2006 at:

Julie Kowal, et al., "Financial Incentives for Hard to Staff Positions," Center for American Progress, November 2008.

A study by researchers at Rand found that higher pay lowered attrition, and the effect was stronger in high-needs school districts. Every $1,000 increase was estimated to decrease attrition by more than 6 percent. See S.N. Kirby, et al., "Supply and Demand of Minority Teachers in Texas: Problems and Prospects," Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 1999; 21(1): 47-66 at: http://epa.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/21/1/47