Rapid City Area School teachers are opting out of retirement

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Filling teaching vacancies in the Rapid City Area School District is going much better than recent years, and an increase in salaries is given much of the credit.

As of right now there are eleven teaching openings for elementary school, nine for middle school, and just two in high school. Kristen Strissel with the district says last year was a high retirement year, but some of those teachers are returning to the workforce. She credits the half cent sales tax increase earmarked for teacher pay.

"When you look at increasing staff salaries and putting that money into teacher pay, you then unsurprisingly at the end of the year don't see nearly as many retirements. We are retaining quite a few of our really talented and experienced teachers ,we are not losing people to other places in a way that we were."

Strissel says the recruiting process started at the first of the year, and she is very pleased with the number of applicants.

RCAS is also looking at filling staff positions; including paraprofessionals, bus drivers, and custodians.