- Associated Press - Monday, March 7, 2016

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - The state House on Monday delayed consideration of an overhaul of South Dakota’s education funding formula to incorporate the half-cent sales tax increase recently approved by the Legislature for teacher pay.

Lawmakers are expected to take up the plan Tuesday. Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s office has said the new funding system would include more accountability than today’s formula.

The proposal would base the funding system on a target average teacher salary of $48,500 and would include target student-teacher ratios for schools. The overhaul and tax increase are part of a package lawmakers are considering this year to boost South Dakota’s lowest-in-the-nation teacher pay.

The state’s average teacher salary of $40,023 in 2013-14 lagged an average of six states that border it by $11,888 a year, a state education task force found.

The measure “will make it easier to have a good public dialogue about how school dollars are being spent,” said Tony Venhuizen, chief of staff to Daugaard.

The tax increase would raise about $107 million in the upcoming budget year, most of which would be put toward the teacher salary plan.

The House on Monday also unanimously passed a separate proposal aimed at improving school efficiency that’s part of the proposed changes. The measure would encourage schools to share resources and use distance learning.

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