Teachers with Rapid City Area Schools (RCAS) will soon have contracts, as resolution of the Rapid City Education Association (RCEA) and school district’s dispute over teacher pay draws near. According to the Rapid City Journal, both groups attended a mediation hearing with the South Dakota Department of Labor in Pierre on January 9th.
Michelle Faw, an administrative law judge issued her recommendation in favor of the school district on January 18. RCAS’s last offer included a $700 raise for all employees in the teacher group, which encompasses not only teachers but librarians, counselors, therapists, and more as well. This raise, spread over the approximately 1,000 employees it would apply to in the school district, will cost about $700,000.
Faw’s recommendation was based on the idea that the RCAS offer would allow for a small raise for each teacher while also setting aside funds to focus on repairs and the district’s strategic plan. The school board adopted this resolution at their most recent meeting.
The Rapid City Education Association had hoped to see pay increases of up to $2,000 for teachers, but president of the association, Sue Podoll, was not surprised by the judge’s recommendation. RCEA will now shift their focus to contract negotiations for the next school year. Average teacher salary in Rapid City area public schools was $50,946 during the 2017-2018 school year, according to the South Dakota Department of Education.
Read more about teacher pay on the Black Hills Knowledge Network.