The Sioux Falls Stampede and CU Mortgage Direct apologized Monday afternoon, saying that "although our intent was to provide a positive and fun experience for teachers, we can see how it appears to be degrading and insulting towards the participating teachers and the teaching profession as a whole."
The first Dash for Cash was organized to give 10 teachers a chance to compete for $5,000 that would help fund their classrooms. CU Mortgage Direct donated the money.
The teachers received more than $5,000, and each walked away with a minimum of $500, according to Jim Olander, the president of the Sioux Falls Stampede Hockey Club.
But after a video (above) amassed millions of views, reaction on Twitter was swift, with people comparing it to the Netflix series "Squid Games" and calling it demeaning.
In their apology, the Sioux Falls Stampede and CU Mortgage Direct said they would be providing an additional $15,500 to area teachers. They said that 31 teachers had applied to participate in the event and 10 were chosen randomly. The 10 teachers will each be given another $500, and the other 21 who were not selected will also be given $500.
Teacher salary ranks among worst in the nation
South Dakota has ranked constantly as one of the worst states for teacher salary despite an estimated $500 million in state aid to all 149 school districts for the 2022 fiscal year.
In 2020, teachers on average took home about $49,000 for the fiscal year and was ranked 50th in the United States. That's up from $42,000 in 2016.
Gov. Kristi Noem has prioritized increasing funding for K-12 education, and the Department of Education has set a target salary of $52,600 for teachers for 2022, according to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, part of the USA TODAY Network.
In her budget address to the state Legislature in early December, Noem proposed a 6% increase in state aid to education and said it should go directly to teachers.
"Events like this show that our educational system is broken – not only in the Sioux Falls region but across the state," Tim Eckart, the Sioux Falls Education Association president, told the Argus Leader on Monday. "It’s time for us to realign our priorities by focusing on putting the money back into our students' education."
Follow Annie Todd on Twitter @AnnieTodd96.
This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: After SD teachers grabbed dollar bills, Dash for Cash group says sorry