Entries Tagged 'Education funding' ↓
July 8th, 2015 — economy, Education funding, South Dakotans
So is the Governor and his administrators lying to the public when they say there is no easy solutions to raising teacher pay? The Mercatus Center disagrees;
South Dakota ranks 3rd among US states for its fiscal health, based on its fiscal solvency in five separate categories.
South Dakota’s strong fiscal position in FY 2013 was driven by very high revenues relative to spending and by low levels of debt. The state’s cash position indicates that South Dakota had between five and eight times the amount of cash needed to cover short-term spending in FY 2013. South Dakota’s revenues exceeded expenses. Long-term liabilities accounted for 9 percent of total assets, and the state had excess assets after meeting its debts. Debt levels were among the lowest in the nation at 1.3 percent of state personal income. Under its own accounting assumptions, South Dakota’s pension system was fully funded. However, when calculating the pension liability on a guaranteed-to-be-paid basis, the unfunded liability amounted to $6.7 billion.
After reading this, I thought I may be living in another state and don’t know it. We often hear the constant drum beat from Pierre that ‘the money isn’t there’ not just for education, but we heard it with road funding also. Unless the accountants at the Mercatus center got their wires crossed, it seems the state could afford more money for education, roads and even sending some of their extra revenue to strapped counties so they don’t have to continue to opt-out. So why is the state hoarding money that could be spent? Isn’t that what we pay taxes for? To be spent on programs to help the residents of our great state. If I knew the state was interested in keeping a savings account, I say just reduce my taxes instead, and I will take care of my own savings.
The Mercatus Center also has a fascinating blog.
March 18th, 2015 — campaign finance, Education funding, Elections, SF School District, Sioux Falls
The State Law is pretty clear;
Universal Citation: SD Codified L § 12-27-20 (through 2012)
12-27-20. Expenditure of public funds to influence election outcome prohibited. The state, an agency of the state, and the governing body of a county, municipality, or other political subdivision of the state may not expend or permit the expenditure of public funds for the purpose of influencing the nomination or election of any candidate, or for the petitioning of a ballot question on the ballot or the adoption or defeat of any ballot question. This section may not be construed to limit the freedom of speech of any officer or employee of the state or such political subdivisions in his or her personal capacity. This section does not prohibit the state, its agencies, or the governing body of any political subdivision of the state from presenting factual information solely for the purpose of educating the voters on a ballot question.
Source: SL 2007, ch 80, § 20.
You can’t use district property maintained by taxpayers to promote your cause. If your parents want to hold a party at their house after school hours, that is perfectly legal. Does Roosevelt HS have any civics teachers that have a clue, or for that matter administrators? Geezsch!
Maybe this is what they are teaching in government class at Roosevelt HS.
January 7th, 2015 — Education funding, Road Funding
I don’t know who is more ignorant, my students or my state legislators
I recently thought a way to get more money for both would be for the public schools and counties split a statewide room tax. We could dedicate 100% to fixing roads and paying teachers.
I have often been baffled that the state doesn’t have such a tax, especially with all the business travel to Sioux Falls and tourism travel across the state.
December 18th, 2014 — Education funding, Sanford Hospital
Parody by Cory Madville: First draft, Sanford Build Dakota Vo-Tech Scholarship ad (Background from Mitchell Tech website; text by Madville Times Marketing Division)
Cory of course goes into a rant (which I entirely agree with) about L & S’s feeding trough with the state, that really should be cut off (especially after making choking the chicken jokes about driving).
He also touches on the Sanford ‘gift’ to our state*.
*I found it interesting that someone was missing from the guest lineup on the stage yesterday during the announcement. Must have been busy collecting empty plastic liquor bottles at a Sioux Falls park.
October 27th, 2014 — Education funding, Taxes
There was a poll released over the weekend on Stormland TV that most people support increasing the sales tax for three months in the summer to increase teacher pay. They feel that tourists will mostly be paying the tax.
First off, while I do think our teachers deserve better pay, I have often felt their pay is inline with what other South Dakotans make, in other words, we all make crappy wages.
Secondly, taxing food and other necessities is the wrong way to go about paying teachers. We need to find ways to reduce sales taxes, not increase them. They are regressive and a poor way to fund education.
Thirdly, the state has the money to give school districts in reserves, they just refuse to, this is a legislative issue, not a funding issue.
As for tapping into tourism to raise teacher pay, I think that is a great idea. How about we set a corporate tax on seasonal tourism businesses? Or how about we have a state tax fee on hotel rooms during the summer? If we truly want tourism to pay for the pay increase, then lets direct the taxes AT tourism?
Once again another stupid idea from Pierre and the minions follow suit.
December 19th, 2013 — Education funding
While the governor is busy handing out million dollar checks to staffing agencies to create a handful of jobs for a trailer making business, he continues to underfund education;
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the estimated average annual salary for South Dakota teachers is $39,580, lower than any other state. It is nearly half of what teachers in New York make.
“My husband and I both make a living. We have other jobs though. We both have other jobs outside of teaching in order to make ends meet,” Rollinger said.
I know a couple of teachers that assemble fireworks in the summer for extra dough.
When compared to other professions in SD, teachers are probably right in line with pay, not that, that is a good thing. We all need to get paid more.
February 28th, 2013 — Education funding, Gun Control, Guns on Campus, State Legislature
Trust me, there are many compelling arguments as to why the Sentinel Bill is legislative stupidity on many levels;
A proposal to let schools arm volunteer “sentinels” for defense passed the South Dakota Senate Wednesday and could be headed to Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s desk.
The school sentinels bill gives every school district the option to arm teachers, staff or community volunteers, but doesn’t require any district to bring guns into schools.
Allowing guns in schools to make them safer is similar to storing gasoline next to your backyard firepit to make it safer.
But I’m sure my commenters will have plenty to say about whether it makes schools safer or not. My biggest problem with the passage of this bill is how our state continually comes across as backwoods hillbillies because of our state legislators. Even if this bill passes, there won’t be a single school board in this state that will approve having armed sentinels in their schools. So why even move ahead with this? You don’t heal a black eye by punching it again and you don’t make schools safer from gun violence by allowing more guns in schools.
January 29th, 2013 — Education funding
August 2nd, 2012 — Education funding, SF School District, Sioux Falls
(Image: KELO-TV screenshot)
This of course is the real story in Stormland today, the grunts in the trenches, not the millionaires at press conferences kissing T. Denny Sanford’s ass when he didn’t even bother to show up;
“We are hoping to give the substitutes a voice within the district and get the same treatment as every other entity,” Theresa Stehly said.
Stehly is leading the initiative. She says substitute teachers haven’t seen a raise in six years while teachers and other employees have. She doesn’t believe the district is listening to their needs but thinks they’ll have a voice in numbers.
Of course, it didn’t stop another credit card company lackey, who happens to sit on the school board, talk about the ‘merit’ of a sub teacher pay;
“In this coming budget cycle we’ll look at substitute teacher pay again if it merits it we’ll act on an increase, maybe, for substitutes,” Morrison said.
Tragic, coming from a man who works for a company that got a taxpayer bailout while the execs in his company live high on the hog. Go away.
August 1st, 2012 — Daugaard, Education funding, Hunhoff
From SD Alliance for Progress;
By Representative Bernie Hunhoff
A recent Daily Republic editorial proclaimed “good news” that our state finished the fiscal year with a $47 million surplus. Yes, $47 million is good, but there’s no news there.
We’ve balanced our budgets in South Dakota since statehood. That’s 123 straight years. And in recent years we haven’t even come close to being in the red. State government is awash in cash. We now have $134 million in official reserves, plus another $725 million in trust funds and as of right now it looks like we could see millions more in surplus for the current fiscal year.
Remember, news happens when a man bites a dog. News is when we don’t balance the budget. Our state constitution requires it.
The real news is this latest confirmation that we unnecessarily slashed school spending by $52 million, and when the federal government sent $26 million the Pierre bureaucracy kept that in their own coffers. Then we slashed spending for children’s health programs, nursing homes and hospitals.
Frugality is a virtue. But we’ve taken it to the extreme in South Dakota. At some point it becomes a vice — like a well-to-do father who won’t buy shoes for his kids.
Despite a guise of frugality, the current administration has started a litany of new programs — many of them for big corporations. One example is the Manpower program that will spend $5 million to help a few companies recruit
workers from out-of-state. That’s what often happens with exorbitant surpluses: they are reclassified as one-time monies and then spent in areas that are low priority, if necessary at all. Thus, frugality turns into waste.
Meanwhile, state government’s share of education spending has dropped precipitously over the last decade, and is now the lowest in the nation in relation to local spending from property taxes. The 49 other state governments contribute an average of 43 percent of their schools’ budgets. In South Dakota, the state’s share has dropped below 30 percent — lowest in the nation — yet we have hundreds of millions in trust funds, excess cash accounts and reserves.
The age-old line from the Pierre bureaucracy is that we dare not risk an adequate investment in education because disaster could be lurking — a flood, a forest fire, beetles, drought or recession. But our penny-pinching has caused a disaster for schools, for property taxpayers in South Dakota and for many community health care facilities.
Your editorial board accused me of playing politics with the “good” budget news this week. I suppose anything can be construed as politics — giving your wife flowers on her birthday, for example. But the only reason many of us are even involved in politics is because we want to improve the lives of South Dakotans.
Is your life better because the state salted away tens of millions of your tax dollars rather than making smart investments in health care and education and keeping property taxes down?
Bernie Hunhoff, a Democrat from Yankton, is the state House minority leader.