Entries Tagged 'SF School District' ↓

The Chamber gives their SLANTED view of city government

Nothing like the Chamber Advocate for a little light reading about how the city of Sioux Falls is running like a well oiled machine.

First they would like us to know OUR rights when it comes to Public Input and the 1st Amendment;

However, if a public body agrees to hold public input sessions, then some limited constitutional rights are extended to the speakers. Still, the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that a public body has the right to put time, manner and place restrictions on speech as long as those restrictions are generally content neutral and serve a governmental purpose. Courts have also noted that the purpose of these meetings, City Council for example, is to conduct city business and not to take public input. That recognized purpose permits the Council to legally restrict public input.

We of course have had this debate here before, and I have come to the realization that the city council CAN restrict public input. I get it. That wasn’t my point. My point is, that IF the city is going to allow Public Input, which they do, then they shouldn’t restrict our 1st Amendment rights during that time period by chastising us for speaking. If you don’t want us to ‘redress our grievances’ than eliminate public input, which I think would be difficult. As pointed out above, these meetings are for the city council to conduct business, a lot of decisions are made, based on input from the public, or at least should be.

In other Advice from the Advocate, they would like us to believe an OPT-OUT by the school district is for our own ‘safety’;

In other words, increasing the opt-out puts a safety net in place and ensures the District is able to provide a high-quality education for all students for years to come.

Make no mistake, if a governmental entity has the power to increase your taxes, they will use that same power to spend that money. Their is no such thing as a ‘safety net’ or ‘savings account’ in government. They WILL spend every last penny that they suck out of us, and you can almost guarantee that $5 million dollar ‘possible’ increase is already spent. The Chamber of course advocates for property tax and regressive increases on food taxes to help fund education because they are protecting members from an income tax.

The Chamber also decides to weigh in on the ambulance service in town. They have determined that it is what we are willing to pay for that determines what kind of quality of care we are getting . . . imagine that, always about the bottom line with the Chamber;

We will close with this. It appears our emergency medical response system is working when the objective data is considered. Also, the REMSA Board, not an elected lay council, is the right way to manage the system. The Council, by Charter, is a policy setting and legislative body and is to avoid administrative and management issues. It also appears that six of our councilors generally agree the system is working and the structure in place is valuable while two spearheaded the critical questioning.

However, we also understand that if your 911 call is one where there is a delay, you will have a concern. The provision of public services is always a balance between resources and expectations. If we expect (as an exaggerated example) a two-minute ambulance response for every emergency call, we can probably achieve it – but you won’t want to pay for it. Quality assurance conversations are important and we encourage them using the right data and in the right context.

We wouldn’t need more than two mutual aid agreements if PP would just staff more ambulances, but they won’t, as the Chamber has pointed out, too expensive. Yet, ironically our first responders, the SFPD and SFFD seem to show up first, subsidized by the tax payers while PP rides to bank with the profit from the transfer and delivery of a patient. All the more reason showing us a PUBLIC ambulance service not only would save patients money, it would probably save tax payers money (because we would be reimbursed for those calls), but more importantly, it would probably be 10X faster and more reliable than a FOR PROFIT ambulance service.

The Chamber has members to protect, we get it.

Sioux Falls School District Referendum Opt-Out petition

Download Petition, actual document, follow directions belowPetition Opt Out 2017

The document must be reproduced so each petition has a front and back of the document.  The petition may not be reproduced on two sheets of paper and stapled together.  Each box of the signature lines must be completed.  The person gathering and witnessing the signature is allowed to fill in any of the boxes except the signature box.  The person gathering and witnessing the signatures must stand before a notary and fill in the certification on the back of the petition and have it witnessed by a notary.

The petitions are due back to the Business Manager by 5:00, July 7, 2017. The goal is 6,000 signatures. Too bad it isn’t based on the turnout of the last election, then they would only need about 300 signatures.

*South DaCola is NOT directly involved with petition drive, but does support the effort.

In other School Board News; The election fiasco

Three of us also spoke at the meeting tonight about the fiasco the school board election was. It’s during public input right at the beginning.

Should we be ramping up privately funding SF Public Schools?

I will admit, I am kind of on the fence on this one. I think if people want to donate to public schools, who am I to say NO, but it also leaves open the door to entitlement and segregation. Something that already exists with open enrollment.

Newly elected Sioux Falls School Board member Cynthia Mickelson suggested changing the way the Education Foundation is set up so that individuals can give specific donations to specific programs for specific schools and classes (Inside KELOLAND, FF: 5:20).

While this could be very beneficial to SOME schools, not sure how this helps with the lower income schools. I just don’t see parents donating to the Whittier art program while they are applying for free or reduced lunches. Like I said, all for the donations, but those donations should be spread EQUALLY to all the schools.

UPDATE: Sioux Falls School Board’s Property Tax increase sneaky move

UPDATE: President Tholke asked for a two week deferral of the opt out and the motion failed. So they all voted for the OPT-OUT anyway.

UPDATE II: While watching the School Board meeting, and they are arguing about being transparent about the OPT-OUT discussion, in fact so transparent guess when they posted the OPT-OUT discussion video from April 10, 2017? April 11? April 12? Nope, they posted it TODAY! That’s transparency folks!

UPDATE III: A group is planning to circulate a referendum on the opt-out that passed tonight.

Only one week after a completely dismal school board election turnout, where they bragged about saving $16,000, and now they want to rob you out of $5 million.


They couldn’t wait until the new board member got sworn in, they had to slip it in now.

Sioux Falls homeowners could miss out on state property tax relief as school board members look to pad the district’s dwindling reserve funds.

Board members will vote Monday night on a recommendation to opt out of local property tax limits. The move would bring an extra $5 million into school coffers over the next 10 years.

And technically your taxes won’t INCREASE, they just basically wiped away the tax relief you WOULD have gotten from the state legislature;

Homeowners wouldn’t see taxes go up in 2018, but they would miss out on state property tax relief, a direct result of the new education funding formula passed last year.

The worst part about this besides their very sneaky method* of putting this on the agenda (surprised anyone from the media even caught it) is this isn’t even for a capital project, it is for a savings account because gosh darn it, they just can’t trust Trump or Pierre. Tax increases to pad savings accounts are NOT the way to go. I have often said government should spend what it has and keep an even keel. That is why I have often supported tapping into the education investment fund dividends and interest to actually FUND education instead of these constant tax increases.


As for the sneaky way they put this on the agenda. I had to read it three times before catching the clever language, Item #10 under Reports of the Superintendent, A. Finance Action Network Opt-Out Recommendation. Doesn’t sound like a property tax increase unless you read the attached documents.

And look at the esteemed members that want to increase your taxes;

The Finance Action Network (FAN) met on Thursday, May 25th. The meeting started at 11:30am. Those in attendance were:

-Sara Andrews (Beck & Hofer)

-Jason Ball (SF Area Chamber)

-Keith Severson (Eide Bailly)

-Bob Thimjon (Ramkota Companies)

-Becky Wittrock (Geo Tek)

-Doug Morrison (Citibank/SF School Board)

-Todd Vik (Sioux Falls School District)

-Brian Maher (Sioux Falls School District)

Once again, the Chamber looking out for the little guy . . . NOT!

And what is the irony in all this? The final statement on the report;

The additional $5 million Opt Out is recommended for 10 years. The district would only access the portion of increase as needed.

In other words if it is approved IT will be accessed, make no mistake.

Why it is more important to vote for School Board then POTUS

If I told you that newly elected Cynthia Mickelson will make more important decisions about your life than president Trump will, you probably would just laugh, or at least scratch your head.

We will get to that in a minute.

On Tuesday, only 3.7% of the voting public showed up to elect a new school board candidate. Besides the fact that people are fed up with musical precincts and complete confusion when it comes to where we should vote, many people just don’t give a sh*t.

Oh, I have heard it from my friends, I have seen it in social media and people say it on call in talk radio, I didn’t vote in the school board election, because it really doesn’t matter.

Really? You are seriously misinformed.

I would make that argument for POTUS. Think about it. The electoral college picks our president. Just look at the last election, Clinton received the popular vote, but Trump was chosen (by law) by the EC. So why even vote for president? And better yet, how does the President’s decisions really effect my life, especially locally? Not much, unless he uses his veto stamp.

Now let’s look at the school board. Besides a large portion of my property taxes going towards the school district’s budget, I now have a ½ penny of sales taxes going towards them. The school board also juggles large federal grants and subsidies (my income taxes).

While our misguided state legislature implemented the sales tax increase, it is our school board that really decides how that goes towards teacher compensation. As for our property taxes, they will be making some major decisions on them over the next couple of years. Our super, Dr. Maher has already been beating the drum of new HS and possibly new middle school. They will have to make some critical decisions on how to pay for those new schools. They could pay the bonds out of the current budget, or they could choose to raise those taxes.

Even without children, like myself, the school board makes a lot of decisions that affect our local economy and federal aid. Take FREE and reduced lunches for instance. How does this affect other federal programs in our community?

This is why it concerned me that candidate Mickelson raised 9 times more than her opponents, and the financials were never put online for the public to view. She raised that money from the GOP establishment, prominent members of the Chamber of Commerce, Minnehaha County Commission, Sioux Falls city council (current and former members) banking industry, healthcare industry and development and homebuilder industries. They obviously seen how important this race was and how important it was to get their candidate elected, and they succeeded. Even with all the struggles I had with Mickelson as a candidate, I would give her a thumbs up on her get out the vote efforts.

Local elections matter. Please educate yourself and vote. The presidential election, not so much.

What’s a SD Democratic Party endorsement worth? About 108 votes.

To be honest with you, I feel bad for Dimitrios Gliarmis, if Dobberpuhl wasn’t in the race, I would have supported him. A very progressive candidate. Gliarmis decided NOT to raise or spend any money, which is fine, he also got the least number of votes. But in reality, he is the real winner because he paid $0 per vote.

But what I found ODD was the SDDP’s email endorsement of Gliarmis ONE day before the election;

First off, the Dems have supported INDEPENDENT Dobberpuhl in the past, and like I said, party shouldn’t matter anyway because this was a non-partisan race, until Mickelson brought in the dark money of the SD GOP.

Even with the Dem’s endorsement of Gliarmis, it still seems Dobberpuhl picked up their votes.

But this post isn’t about Gliarmis OR Dobberpuhl, it is about how pathetic the SDDP is in their endorsement of Gliarmis. They are constantly getting on their high horse about running candidates for the smaller races like school board, city council, etc., so now that they had a candidate in Gliarmis, they don’t do any fundraising for him, NO phone banks, no volunteers, no support whatsoever except for an email endorsement a day before the election. That’s some pretty badass strategy.

If the SDDP is serious about running candidates in ALL the races, they need to support these candidates. If I was Gliarmis, I would have kindly asked them NOT to send out the email, he probably would have garnered MORE votes.

Mickelson spends almost $10 per vote to beat Dobberpuhl for Sioux Falls School Board

This, of course is according to her last financial report. It could be closer to $15 when the last financial report comes out, that is if Bev Chase decides to post it online. Big GOP money wins again, and I am sure they are not one bit to ashamed of it.

Mickelson would have been better off sending out $10 gift cards (probably shouldn’t give them any ideas).

Dobberpuhl spent about $2,400 or $1.32 per vote (2000 votes).

There was a 3.7% voter turnout.

As I have said before, I felt all candidates are qualified, but I do worry Mickelson and her donors want to turn our high schools into Vo-Techs to train carpenters and plumbers instead of preparing them for secondary education.

The CHOKEHOLD the Republican Party has on our state will now continue on the School Board. Now if more than 4% of the 90K registered voters in SF would have decided to show up.


There was also some ‘questionable’ things that went on during the campaign;

• One day before the election the Argus posted a ‘quiz’ online to determine the best candidate instead of just posting the bios/info of each candidate, many of the questions were geared towards Mickelson’s agenda. Then today, their website was plastered with Mickelson advertising.

• May 30 financial report was never posted online by the school district.

• There were NO voting centers in most of the northern part of the city, yet several in the more affluent Southside.

• KELO-TV had a cut video of Inside Keloland of the candidates that cut off Dobberpuhl’s interview.

Obviously, the planets would have had to align, but some of this stuff is a head-scratcher.

I would like to actually congratulate (Independent) Dobberpuhl for doing as well as he did against the DARK MONEY machine of the SD GOP, SD Chamber of Commerce, and SF Homebuilders Association. He held his own. I have a feeling if spending in the race would have been capped, he would have walked away with the honor tonight. Keep fighting Randy.

I would also like to congratulate Mickelson, she had a well-oiled machine behind her, and she threw everything but the kitchen sink at it. Huge donations, yard signs, direct mail, radio ads, bumper stickers and robo calls. If she were running for governor, her chances would be very good . . . oh that’s right . . .

Why I support Randy Dobberpuhl for School Board

I didn’t just wake up one morning supporting Randy for school board this time around. I supported Randy in ALL three of his races not because he is running against big money but because he is the BEST candidate.

Besides the fact that Randy is well versed in what goes on with the school district, his background in County government gives him the ears and eyes for how public education works, and for that matter what works. It also doesn’t hurt that Randy has two boys in the district and a wife who worked as a teacher and now an administrator.

His charity work is also impressive. It is not easy for a hardworking family man to take time away from his own family and busy professional life to help other children in our community. And while Randy may be humble or modest about his charitable work, he has an enormous heart.

What impresses me the most about Dobberpuhl is his determination. I met Randy several years ago when he first moved to Sioux Falls. He was working a part-time job (on top of a full-time job) to help support his family to get ahead. Living and striving for the American Dream.

Randy doesn’t come from ‘big money’ and he certainly doesn’t ride the coat tails of an established political party. Randy wants to be on the school board to HELP the children of this community grow and prosper. No hidden agenda.

Doesn’t it just seem a little odd to anyone that a district that has so many kids living in poverty (almost half on FREE or reduced lunches) that one of the people running for the job would raise a ridiculous amount of campaign money from the very donors who want to keep the status quo of cheap labor (they disguise as workforce development). These same donors are the ones who give their money year after year to the dominate political party in Pierre that has done NOTHING in over 40 years to advance or make public education better? And their lame brain attempt of raising regressive taxes on food doesn’t count. In fact, it was an account they tried to rob just one year after its implementation.

Dobberpuhl’s main opposition may claim to be ‘independent’ from her husband’s party politics, but her financial report tells a different story. Randy is an independent because he doesn’t play the games of the political parties, he just simply believes in doing the right thing for the community.

Randy doesn’t sleep in the bed of the anti-education party, and that is why he should be the easy choice on June 6th.

Sioux Falls School District still hasn’t posted financials from May 30

Unless I am missing something, I can’t find the financial reports for the school board candidates posted on the district’s website, and we are on the eve of the election. The whole point of having a financial report BEFORE the election is to see who butters the candidates bread, remember, always follow the money when choosing a candidate.

Thank goodness I went in last week and took photos of the financials. While I was there, I asked Bev Chase, the person in charge of the election why the financials haven’t been posted yet. She said, “I haven’t had time.” That is inexcusable. With modern copiers/scanners it takes about 5 minutes to scan and create a 20 page PDF document that is ready for upload on any website.

But it gets better, Chase was on the news tonight BRAGGING about the $16K they are saving in this election by hand counting and reducing the precincts. Yeah, as an election official, there is nothing more to be proud of then a 1-2% possible voter turnout. Not only should she be ashamed and embarrassed, she should be fired, and the school board and superintendent should be held accountable for such poor planning of an election. But it seems they have all kinds of time, staff, and money to conduct dubious surveys on a school start date and $4 million on locker rooms at Howard Wood.

Democracy hard at work once again in Sioux Falls.