Entries Tagged 'School Funding' ↓

This should bode well with voters if Huether decides to run for higher office

South Dakotans love nothing better then an elected official bragging about increasing taxes, especially property taxes;

Mayor Mike and Cindy Huether have long supported and advocated for the public school system. In fact, they were the co-chairs of the last two opt-out campaigns to increase funding for Sioux Falls public schools, along with many other leadership and stewardship roles.

Mike really likes to shoot himself in the foot lately, like calling transparency a slippery slope. Now he brags about wanting to raise our taxes as proof he supports education. Can’t wait for this tidbit to come out if he runs for higher office.

Sioux Falls & Brandon Public Schools seem to be confused about the term ‘Public’

”He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security.” – Ben Franklin

Voting is the cornerstone of a free democracy, so where should this exercise take place? Well, probably in a public place, but Brandon & SF School District officials are saying “Not so Fast”;

Sioux Falls Schools officials have told county election managers that Hawthorne won’t be available for voting this election, citing security concerns.

Bob Bray, risk assessment manager for the Sioux Falls School District, said the building’s layout and scheduling make it hard to keep voters and students separate.

First off Mr. Bray, kids can be shot anywhere, parks, churches, walking down the street, and an election being held in your school is NOT going to increase that risk, and I almost question if you are using school shootings as an excuse.

Secondly, schools are publicly funded, and I almost question the legality of the districts denying access for an election, and would challenge Auditor Litz to dig up the laws on it.

Thirdly, the irony of all this couldn’t be more hypocritical. In a state where we scream and hollar about gun rights and being able to carry guns anywhere, we turn our backs on the very people who carry these guns and say, “Not in our facilities.” Well we can’t have it both ways. Until we change our culture about guns in South Dakota, there will still be shootings, whether they are accidental, intentional, or in a church or school setting, elections have little to do with when they occur.

Let’s end the paranoia, and stop the musical precincts;

Minnehaha County Commissioner Dick Kelly said he’s concerned the move will contribute to voter confusion during an important election.

“I think it is unfortunate you have to vote here one day, vote here another then vote here the next,” Kelly said

Litz agreed the search for polling places is a joint effort, requiring cooperation between the district and the county.

Never thought Bob and Dick would be the words of wisdom on this one, but they are right. Consistency helps with voter turnout.

Now that Republicans in SD have ransacked public education funding on all levels, what’s next?

The Repugs managed to succeed at all levels, governor’s office, the legislature and now our courts;

In upholding the constitutionality of the state’s school funding system, a unanimous South Dakota Supreme Court said Thursday it isn’t convinced that the money appropriated for schools is inadequate or that more money would produce higher test scores and graduation rates.

Of course, this ruling has to do with timing, they were ruling on the funding setup before the state cut education by 6.6%. Of course our governor is in a state of denial when it comes to funding education;

“I am pleased with this opinion because the appropriate place to determine school funding is the Legislature, not the courts,” Gov. Dennis Daugaard said in a written statement. “I believe we should focus on student achievement, not spending, as the best measure of educational success. That approach is very consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision.”

Yeah, let’s keep cutting education and watch those test scores soar . . . .

Abdallah thinks he’d succeed with that argument today. The Legislature balanced its budgets by freezing per-student funding last year and cutting it by 6.6 percent this year. “Although the court didn’t find that the system was unconstitutional at the time of the trial … I seriously doubt that our current system would survive this type of analysis,” Abdallah said.

But it doesn’t stop one Republican lawmaker from crying about how we need to just let him do his job;

The five-year legal battle has frustrated some observers, including Sen. Mark Johnston, R-Sioux Falls, who said he’s “very upset” that a majority of the state’s school districts would pay for a lawsuit against the state. “The Supreme Court has spoken that it’s our job as legislators to fund schools,” he said.

So Mark, when you going to start doing your job? I hardly think cutting education by 6.6% when there is $800 million sitting in an investment fund to pick up the slack is DOING YOUR JOB, in fact, you and your party should be charged with child neglect, that would be a more appropriate lawsuit.

But there was one small victory from this lawsuit;

While the lawsuit was pending, the state threatened to audit the coalition of school districts, taking the position that it’s illegal for them to finance a lawsuit against the state. When school officials asked for a judge’s declaration that they can sue, Wilbur agreed with the state; but in that case, a unanimous Supreme Court overturned Wilbur’s decision.

Of course, Repugs bring back the tired old argument;

House Republican leader David Lust of Rapid City said Thursday that most people think school funding should be up to the governor and the Legislature. If the public disapproves of the way the Legislature pays school districts, he said, voters can make a change by electing new legislators.

Good luck with that, your party has a stranglehold on the public because of your bullshit ‘lower taxes’ campaign slogans, and the fact that most (but not all) Democrats in the legislature are a bit timid, except one;

House Democratic leader Bernie Hunhoff of Yankton, a supporter of increased state aid to schools, said he agrees that funding decisions must be made in the Legislature. The lawsuit was filed only because parents and school district officials are frustrated with lawmakers, he said.

Exactly. They sit around and talk about guns and vaginas. Instead of legislating how life may begin or end, why not legislate what happens in between, part of that is providing a good education and investing in our youth. But hey, that reality makes sense, and reality is something Repugs in this state can’t grasp.



AG Jackboots gets his ass handed to him. It’s too bad he wasn’t handed the State’s constitution.

Okay, I know this episode of Inside Stormland TV is over a week old, but I have been doing some catching up. This is actually a pretty good show, compared to Jon Wilson’s BJ episode of Rounds. Both sides of the school funding case gave great arguments, but I would have to agree with Scott that school funding is a SD constitutional obligation, and Scott let’s AG Jackboots have it over it. He uses the analogy of the state suing over ‘Obamacare’. Jackboots hangs his head so low in his lap, you thought at one point he was going to fall out of his chair.

Worth the watch.

Super Precints do not work. C’mon already.


How many times does this stupid f’ing experiment have to fail before the city and the school district wakeup and go, “Guess it doesn’t work.”

Only one of every 42 registered voters cast a ballot for the incumbent in Tuesday’s Sioux Falls School Board election, but he cruised to a second term.


Darin Daby will be joined on the board by newcomer Kate Parker, who earned votes from every 43rd registered voter. The ratio for the losing candidate, Mike Deitschman, was one in 63.

I will admit, I did not vote. Which is rare for me. But like I have said before, my property taxes are low and I don’t have any kids. I also believe public education is one of the wisest uses of tax money. I didn’t really like any of the candidates either. One was a rubberstamper, one co-owns a family business that is anti-union and anti-worker rights and one is a teabagger defender. So no votes from me. I also don’t know where my super precint is, I usually just absentee vote at the courthouse.

The school district used 23 super precincts, so most voters had a different voting place compared to the 2008 general election. Deitschman said he had supporters calling him to say they couldn’t find their polling place.

Surprise! Surprise!

Daby called the turnout “disappointing” and said he’s willing to listen to ideas on how to raise public interest.

Well Daby, you are the president of the school board, why not suggest getting rid of super precints? That would be a start.

We have super precints to aproximately save $16,000 per election, but the city has no problem with paying a consultant $50,000 to tell us what a historical window looks like. Go figure.* There should never be a pricetag on one of greatest rights in a democracy. It’s foolish, petty and UnAmerican to limit voters. But of course we live in a city that violates many constitutional rights, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone.

*(BTW- I know that the city didn’t pay for this election, but have used super precints in the past with similiar results).

The School Board figured it out, now will the City Council

The school baord decides to make budgetary cuts during a recession. Jinkies, what a concept!

Much of the $585,000 in spending cuts for next year will come from combining or cutting bus routes.

Get on your bikes rugrats and pedal your way to school, like I had to, uphill both ways in a blizzard.

Homan said she believes in the stability bus, as well as other programs not being funded next year, but “I can’t find something else to trade it out for.”

As you know, I’m not a big fan of Pam ‘No Buck’ Homan, but will admit she did what she was supposed to do in this situation. When money is tight, you pick something you can do without, just like the rest of us have to. When is the city council gonna figure that out?

Board president Darin Daby said the decision to stop funding the bus “came down to a prioritization which is not any fun at all.”

Yeah, no fun at all, because we would rather be making decisions on how to raise taxes or what TV station to watch during a council meeting.

The State wastes a cool million defending the right to NOT fund education properly


Go figure, state funded lawyers are more important then educating our children.

South Dakota students aren’t guaranteed a quality education, a circuit judge ruled Wednesday, finding that the way the state pays for education does not violate the state constitution.


Circuit Judge Lori Wilbur’s decision follows a trial that saw six superintendents complain that a lack of money was hurting South Dakota’s students. An appeal to the state Supreme Court now is likely, according to the lawyer representing students and their families.

Yesterday on several blogs and forums, the conservatives were claiming this to be a victory, but hardly. They also claimed that the case was over, not really.

Scott Abdallah, the lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, said reaching the state Supreme Court was the goal from the outset: Unlike most states, South Dakota’s high court has never decided a school funding lawsuit.

But that wasn’t the only spew the conservatives spittled on themselves, they cried about how much this was costing taxpayers, trying to blame the plaintiffs for the cost, but guess who spent a cool million to defend the case? The state, not the plaintiffs. So who is really wasting taxpayer money?

The state spent almost $1 million from a special litigation fund, and the attorney general’s office spent a lot of time and money defending the lawsuit, he said.

Yes, the same governor who refuses to fund school’s properly, has no problem dropping a cool million on lawyers so he can prevent spending a couple extra million on schools each year. Makes sense. Not.

So how much did the plaintiffs have to pay their lawyer? Zilch.

School districts initially paid for the costs of the lawsuit, but since a judge ordered them to stop last year, Abdallah has been working the case without charge. The matter of whether those school districts can pay for a lawsuit to which they are not a party was argued before the Supreme Court in January but has not been decided; the justices’ decision on that will determine whether Abdallah gets paid.

“I made the decision that we had come this far and my clients deserved to have their day in court,” he said. “I think it’s just a really important issue and it’s an issue that will affect the lives of South Dakotans for years to come.”

Imagine that, principal above profit. Maybe Rounds needs to learn something about that.