Board OKs 7% salary increase for teachers

BROOKINGS – The Brookings School Board unanimously voted Monday to ratify the 2022-23 Master Agreement at Monday night’s school board meeting, providing teachers with a 7% raise in salary and a $2 per hour increase in wages for “nearly all hourly workers” for the next year.

“I believe this agreement, along with the nearly 10% increase for the 2021-2022 school year, have helped improve salaries to better position Brookings to attract and retain employees in the district,” Superintendent Klint Willert wrote in his board report.

Willert explained that last year they were able to allocate more resources to salaries by not replacing some retiring teaching positions at the high school. The increase this year was due to the state Legislature increasing funding for public schools.

“Overall, the process was very collegial and results over the last two years collectively have provided an outcome that has positioned Brookings very well as we work to recognize and reward staff through the district compensation,” Willert wrote.

The district worked in collaboration with the Brookings Education Association to negotiate the terms of the master agreement. 

“I’m really proud of the board and the group for the work that they did,” school board member Keli Books said. “I’m also really excited to share the six weeks of calendar leave for maternity/paternity leave for the birth or adoption of children. I’m really proud of our district for doing that.”

With the increase in teacher salary, the district has climbed the salary rankings in South Dakota. In 2020, Brookings was 48 in average salary rank and 89 in starting salary rank. For the 2021-22 school year, the average rank was 24 and starting salary was 19. With this year’s increase, Brookings’ rank in South Dakota will likely raise again.

“I am happy our collective process can yield positive results for our staff and our learners,” Willert wrote. 

Preliminary budget

Director of Business Services Brian Lueders presented an “estimate” for the 2022-23 budget, noting that there is a number of things still to be added.

The proposed budget for fiscal year 2023 is $27,250,000, which includes the 6% state aid increase of $1,243,000. Other revenues include ESSER II and III ($1,200,000), which are COVID relief funds. The budget also proposes using $500,000 in fund balance.

Expenses for the preliminary budget include increase in health/dental insurance premiums ($50,000) and staff salary increase ($1,486,000), among other items.

The special education preliminary budget for FY23 is $7,350,000, which will include estimated increases for staff, insurance and placements.

At the July meeting, there will be a more detailed outline of the budget, Lueders said.

The next school board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 24, at the Brookings Country Club, but that meeting is scheduled as a workshop. The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 21, in the Dakota Prairie Community Room. 

Contact Addison DeHaven at [email protected].