The budget presented to the Board is heavily influenced by the COVID pandemic that hit in the final quarter of FY20. Over $60 million in Federal funds are being expended during a four-year period on facilities, instruction, extended learning, health, remote learning, sanitization/social distancing, special education, virtual learning and miscellaneous expenses to prepare schools for opening, staying open, learning, staying safe and filling any gaps in learning because of the unexpected FY20 closure. The State Aid formulas are set to increase 2.4% in FY22. Because over 80% of the district’s general fund expenditure budgets are salaries and benefits and over 80% of its discretionary revenues are derived from the State Aid formula, over time teacher salaries can only increase at the same rate as the formula increase. However, once again the Board has committed to increasing average salaries by 0.75% more than the formula increase (3.15%) for all employee groups. Since the tentative approval of the budget, to maintain competitive salaries in targeted areas that had fallen behind the Board further raised employee salaries as follows:
- Increased starting teacher salaries from $37,735 to $41,000 (8.7%),
- Increased Speech Learning Pathologist salaries by 34.8% for first year SLPs and 18.1% for those at the top of the schedule.
- Increased Education Assistant hourly pay by 12.2%.
To accommodate these increases, the General Fund budget increased by $1,230,340 and the Special Education budget increased by $1,605,518.
Overall, the Tax-Supported budget (General, Special Education, Capital Outlay, and Bond Redemption funds) is $279.5million. The school levy is projected to decrease by 12 cents per $1,000 of valuation in 2022. The average school property tax increase over the last 22 years for a typical house in the Sioux Falls School District is approximately 1.7 percent per year.