SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A monthly survey of teacher job openings in South Dakota shows that the number of teacher vacancies is continuing its downward trend, dipping below last year's numbers for the sixth consecutive month.

The Argus Leader reports the Teacher Placement Center reported 186 openings in June compared to the 215 during the same month last year.

The end of the state's teacher shortage, however, may not be in sight as many teachers are reaching retirement age and not enough joining the profession in the state.

Randall Royer is director of the South Dakota Teacher Placement Center. He says the numbers "are encouraging," but he doesn't believe the state is "out of the woods yet."

The state Legislature earlier this year approved a half-cent sales tax hike to put more than $60 million in new funding toward boosting teachers' pay.

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