The Heidepriem campaign fires off a missive on last night's gubernatorial debate before the electrons are dry on your TiVo. Evidently GOP candidate and current Lieutenant Governor Dennis Daugaard justified our lowest-in-the-nation teacher salaries with the old saw that South Dakota's low cost of living makes up the difference.
Wrong, Dennis. Wrong, wrong, wrong. As I have documented on numerous occasions, our teachers—heck, all of us!—are near the bottom of the pay pile even after factoring in cost of living.
Heck, if Dennis hadn't been so busy fundraising and instead paid attention to the blogs, he'd have heard the same thing from conservative blogger Dr. John Schaff three years ago.
But fine, Dennis. You were distracted. So now that we have your attention, let's run the numbers one more time:
- Average teacher salary in South Dakota (AY 2008-2009): $35,070.
- Average teacher salary in North Dakota: $41,654.
- Average teacher salary nationwide: $54,319.
- SD average as percentage of nat'l average: 64.5%
- Most recent calculation of South Dakota's cost of living (Q1 2010): 92.8% of national average (13th lowest in nation).
- Purchasing power in South Dakota of average South Dakota teacher salary compared to purchasing power of average national teacher salary, factoring in cost of living: 69.5%.
Update 2010.08.14: As noted below by the eminent LK, Daugaard's statements are not worthy of the title myth. Daugaard is peddling mere propaganda.