Entries Tagged 'SF School District' ↓

Mayor Huether gets his Trump on

I’m not opposed to people sending their kids to private school, but they shouldn’t get vouchers or public tax dollars to do so;

Sioux Falls public school leaders expressed disappointment Monday with Mayor Mike Huether’s decision to promote a national school choice campaign.

Huether signed a proclamation declaring this week to be “School Choice Week” in Sioux Falls. The observance coincides with National School Choice Week, a campaign largely supported by groups that advocate for taxpayer funding of private schools.

That’s why it is a choice, you choose to forgo publicly funding your kid’s education, so you don’t get those funds. Many parents would argue, “Hey, I pay taxes for funding public education, so I should be able to get that money.” Sorry pal, if that was how it worked, I would be paying ZERO taxes towards public education, in fact anyone with NO children currently in the public school system wouldn’t have to pay taxes. While it sometimes pains me the decisions our public schools make, and sometimes unfair taxation (tax on food to pay teachers) public education is an investment for all of us. That’s something called democracy.

As for the mayor signing this, I think half the time he has no idea what he is signing, probably why he declined an interview. But it also wouldn’t surprise if he did know, and did it out of his new found love for all things Trump.

South DaCola 2016 year in review (Part I)

art-maze-mower-lrArtMaze, one of the better parts of Sioux Falls life in 2016

2016 has been a rough year for citizen activism. While it has been up and down here in Sioux Falls with many successes and failures to boot, it seems Washington DC has gone into full collapse as we allowed racist, sexist, hillbillies to elect our president.


But locally there were three things that stood out;

• Governor Daugaard claiming that voters were ‘hoodwinked’ into voting for IM 22, then getting the Pierre (in)justice system to go along with it. Funny how for over 40 years voters have been voting his party into power, and no word about ‘hoodwinking’ but once that corrupt power will be challenged, all the voters are idiots. As one official told me that used to work for Dennis, it’s not the public that are idiots, it’s Dennis. And his idiocy has been shining through.

• The South Dakota Democratic Party’s bottom completely fell out, and the people in charge patted themselves on the back. Insanity I tell you! Insanity!

• But one of the greatest achievements of the year is the Sioux Falls City Council’s change of power. The four new councilors have been flexing their muscles with a little help from Councilor Erickson, and while they have had a few missteps to start out, they have been learning from the battle scars. While ‘leadership’ of the council (Rolfing and Kiley) seem to be on a two man mission to rubberstamp all things Huether, shut down public input, and concoct false ethics charges against a fellow councilor (until they got caught lying like the snakes they are) they are becoming more and more in check. The city council has many big plans for 2017, and I have a feeling their agenda will push through easily as our lame duck mayor melts.

Let’s take a look at some the finer high and low points of 2016;

• The Huether Tennis center continues to block parking from other event attendees at the Sanford Sports complex though they basically stole $500K from taxpayers for the facility. Throughout the year there was several reports on cones and signs blocking the lot with not cars in it. But hey Mike’s Bride won an award this year and seemed surprised she did, without commenting that her check to the organization that gave the award wasn’t returned.

• The Sioux Falls City Council leadership and mayor’s HR department pulled a military retiree out of their asses for city clerk, a person who will be in charge of our city elections and hasn’t been registered to vote for years. He also proved his knowledge of official stamps when he stamped a petition without even bothering to read it. While Mr. Greco has gotten better over the year, the city clerk position should not be a $80K+ a year job as an apprentice, sadly being trained by one of his assistant clerks who has ten times the qualifications and applied for the position but was turned down. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the council chair’s view of women in the work place.

• Speaking of letting the mayor’s HR department and Leadership’s Mutt and Jeff pick the next internal auditor, the council barked loud enough that they did not want another ‘Greco’ pick. Not sure if the barking worked, but the person who was set to take the job saw the writing on the wall and turned it down. Hopefully the person who ultimately gets the position won’t be turned down because they shave their legs.

• The city continues to blow money on the Winter Wonderland Display, but the way the mayor has been cutting budgets these days, I expect next year’s display to be a couple of homeless barrel fire pits, sponsored by the Dudley House of course.

• After posting about the ridiculous corporate like raises the mayor has been giving to his management team, he turns around and still screws the minions with dismal raises again this year. I think in a special note to the city employees on their Christmas paystub he wrote, “I don’t care.”

• The city continues the FREE condom distribution program at area bars, and for some reason Monk’s is always emptied the quickest. Coincidence that is also a favorite watering hole of city managers . . .

• The Tuthill shooting case becomes ‘inactive’ and a tree branch shadow gets off scott free.

• The Erp wrongfully calls out local massage therapists as prejudice because they pointed out the ‘shower massages’ that were taking place around town. Apparently someone got a bad fortune cookie that day.

• The car rental tax and BID tax grabby-grabby fails in Sioux Falls, but the state legislature passes one of the most idiotic tax increases ever so our teachers are now just tied for last instead of dead last in pay. Out hoodwinking governor already has plans to rob the pot only one year after its passage.

• Hartford’s city government was in a state of collapse. Who really cares?

• The Levitt Pavilion is moving forward in Sioux Falls. It will be nice watching outdoor concerts sitting in the grass while battery acid is boiling beneath our asses.

• The Boulevard ordinance changes went into effect. Now stop worrying about rocks and plant a garden.

• The Washington Pavilion got a change of leadership after Darrin Smith takes over as President. So far he has only eliminated one director, but I hear the blood-letting has just begun. Now let’s throw another couple of million at the place to fix the poor construction to begin with. That will never happen with the Events Center . . .

• The Events Center cracks down on outside snacks and guns at events. We are all now safe from cheap fat people shooting us, but not in the parking lot.

• The Pottie Room war starts in Pierre and is guaranteed to return in 2017.

• A state legislator calls transgender people ‘twisted’. Now I’m struggling with what word to use describing our state legislators?

• A city council candidate throws a hissy fit over a post I wrote about his wife’s involvement with the Jesus plows and after threats to my employer I pull the post. He ends up taking last place in the at-large race. How’s Jesus working out for you now?

• Due to health reasons, Kermit Staggers decides not to run for a 4th term on the city council. His endorsement of Stehly puts her over the top.

• One of the youngest candidates in city history runs for city council. I apologize to Briggs for all the shitty things I said about him during the campaign.

• The Argus Leader sues the city for the details in the secret events center siding settlement. The Argus loses the first round but it is headed to the SD Supreme Court.

• On a similar note, the SON neighborhood is also awaiting a judgement in their Walmart suit with the SD Supreme Court.

• While our Sioux Falls City Council approves the DAPL through Sioux Falls, it takes thousands of protesters in ND to actually stop it. Too bad our city council chair doesn’t understand how to vote.

• The Mayor and Q-Tip Smith screwup the DT parking ramp development by flapping their traps to soon, and the council later on in the year returns the favor and defunds the ramp all together for 2017. I still think the fiasco is what got Smith to seek refuge at the Pavilion.

• City officials throw a hissy-fit over Bruce’s camera at a city meeting we were invited to by then city councilor Kenny Anderson. Looking back on it now, I just chuckle.

• Former city councilor Dean Karsky and now commissioner elect has become the official endorser in Sioux Falls.

• Bruce and I do a presentation on voter turnout in Sioux Falls at Democratic Forum and one of the mayor’s buddy developers in Sioux Falls tries to shut us down. When he fails, he walks out. Another casualty to transparency.

Why aren’t tax paying voters included in the Sioux Falls school start date survey?


Maybe I can’t find it, but there doesn’t seem to be an online link to a survey that was sent to parents of the Sioux Falls school district;

The emailed survey asks whether they’d like the school year to start before or after Labor Day. The survey also asks whether high school semester tests should be given before or after the December break.

“It seems the most emotion is raised when you begin the year and when you end the year,” said Sioux Falls School District superintendent Brian Maher.

Maher said that emotion has quite a history in the district. Last year, city voters passed a measure to begin the Sioux Falls school year after Labor Day, going again the school board’s previous calendar starts which hit before the holiday.

Notice voters decided the school start date, and it should be no different this time around. I think parents, students and teachers opinions are just as important as the opinions of people who fund education. Just because I may not have children in the school district doesn’t mean the school start date doesn’t affect my life, not to mention, I am helping to pay for that education, I should have a say in how my money is being spent. I think the school district should post a link to the survey online so ALL participants in the school district (the students and the people who pay for their education) have a voice. Otherwise it is just a clever game the school district is playing to skew the results. It seems the school district wants our money (property and NOW retail taxes) they just don’t want our opinion.

It also seems they have a tight grip on this survey;


While McGovern students have to do an online bake sale to fund instruments, the school district blows their wad at the Denny

Oh the irony.

Remember this story from almost a year ago?

Andrew Travers launched a Kickstarter program for a couple reasons. One, to buy five new electric instruments for his students; a two violins, a viola and a cello.

“Half the kids can be on the electric instruments in the corner, and the electrics don’t make a lot of audible sound unless you’ve got the headphones on,” Robert Travers explained. “And then the rest of the class can operate at the same time. And we can start rotation kids in and out so that, basically, two different lessons can go on simultaneously.”

Fast forward a year, and magically the SFSD has all kinds of money for music;

The Sioux Falls School District will spend $35,000 to lease the city’s entertainment center for a December performance with rock violinist Mark Wood, an original member of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

In March, school board members approved a more than $60,000 contract with Wood to spend time working with Sioux Falls students, 3,000 of whom will perform with Wood during the concert.

On Monday, school board members approved an additional $8,000 for Wood plus the cost of leasing the Premier Center. They also approved a $25,000 contract for “lights and sound.”

The Sioux Falls School District will spend $35,000 to lease the city’s entertainment center for a December performance with rock violinist Mark Wood, an original member of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

In March, school board members approved a more than $60,000 contract with Wood to spend time working with Sioux Falls students, 3,000 of whom will perform with Wood during the concert.

On Monday, school board members approved an additional $8,000 for Wood plus the cost of leasing the Premier Center. They also approved a $25,000 contract for “lights and sound.”

While I think this is a great opportunity for students, I sometimes question the spending priorities, especially when a music teacher has to ask for private donations for a couple of instruments or the fact that several education assistants with the district make a whopping $11.79 an hour.

Sioux Falls City Council Public Input, Sep 6, 2016

Stormland FINALLY gets the other side of the story on the later school start date

Gee, I wonder if they got some angry phone calls?

They’ve been out of class for only a week and a half, but parent Nancy Neff, who fought for the change, feels the students benefited from that.

“I do think it was a great school year,” Neff said.

The national College Board sets the test dates, and it doesn’t consider when a district starts school. But Neff disagrees.

“I actually felt AP testing went better this year,” Neff said.

Neff says her kids were less stressed about their AP finals.

“This year they could focus on their tests and then they had a couple of weeks after AP testing to wrap up their projects and do their finals in their other courses, it really went quite smooth,” Neff said.

Wow! And that was just one parent. The funny part is that I have not heard one single complaint from a parent about the later start date. Who has been complaining? The teachers who just got our regressive sales taxes increased so they could receive raises for 9 months of work. That’s about it. They suckered the legislature for a tax increase that the voters shot down just a couple of years ago, and now they are complaining about another election because they were not ‘consulted’. Here’s the deal. We pay your wages, the property tax (and now sales tax) paying voters, we make the decisions. If you don’t like it, the private sector in Sioux Falls is hiring.

I also found it ironic that the wife (an AP teacher in Sioux Falls) of a former city councilor who constantly has sour grapes about the outdoor pool at Drake Springs was still complaining about an election that happened over 6 months ago. Better get used to it. Drake Springs has been here for over a decade, and the same old people still complain, I don’t find it any different with the start date.

Stormland TV really needs to get over the late school start date

It was decided in a democratically held election that a majority of voter taxpayers prefer a later start date. Time to move on and do stories about how (AP) students can adjust (the only ones affected by the change).

Here comes the tired old excuses;

Due to a later start to the school year, Sioux Falls students lost three weeks of preparation for their Advanced Placement exams.

I’m still curious how they lost 3 weeks? Sure in actual class time, but with all the time students get off between the beginning of the school year and now, there is plenty of time to read and study on their own time to make it up. Three weeks is a drop in the hat. Last I checked no one forces these students to take AP courses. Why should a small percentage of HS students be determining the school start date for the large majority who don’t take the courses? Of course, the same people who are whining about this (the teachers) got a massive raise (working 9 months out of the year) from increasing the price of food on the same students who’s parents can’t afford it to begin with.

Want to be smart and go to the college of your choice? Study harder.

Full Voting Record Chart for Sioux Falls city councilors

This is the full voting record chart of candidates running, and current councilors serving.

Document: 2016 Candidate & Current Member Voting

School Board Endorsement; Randy Dobberpuhl


My name is Randy Dobberpuhl and I am running for Sioux Falls School Board.

My wife and I have lived in Sioux Falls since 2007. We have two boys, Coulter and Ryder, who attend Harvey Dunn Elementary.

My wife currently works for the school district as an Administrative Intern and has been in the education field for 13 years.

I currently work for Minnehaha County Human Services as a Caseworker for the Safe Home Program.

We provide permanent housing to our chronically homeless population in Sioux Falls and offer other supportive services.

I am an active volunteer for LSS as mentor, Big Brother Big Sister, and United Way.

I want to:

• Ensure all our students receive access and equity at their neighborhood schools.

• Make sure we are meeting students where they are at to ensure we are providing them the right level of education.

• Look at specializing some of the middle schools to create the same opportunities they may see in high school.

• Help push the full summer school program to help students catch up if needed and to receive their diploma.

My career is in advocacy and I will use my knowledge and skills to advocate for all our students!

I love reaching out and listening to others to gain their perspective on issues.

I believe in open conversations and dialogue to keep things transparent.

I would appreciate your vote on April 12th to bring a Fresh Perspective to School Board.

South DaCola is endorsing Randy Dobberpuhl for Sioux Falls School Board


Property taxes (assessments) are going up in Lincoln County, but not because of the Harrisburg School District

So this email from the super of Harrisburg was recently sent out;

—–Original Message—–

From: Notification from Harrisburg School District [mailto:Notification-Do_Not_Reply@target.brightarrow.com]

Sent: Saturday, April 02, 2016 2:01 PM

To: – – – –

Subject: This is a notification from Harrisburg School District

We are hearing that some people in Lincoln County are seeing that their real estate taxes have taken a big jump.  What we understand is that most of this is due to higher assessments on property.  The Harrisburg School has again not raised their tax levies for the 9th year in a row.  Any increases you may see are not due to an increase by the school.  Jim Holbeck

The assessments are up in Sioux Falls to. Funny how this city is swimming in money and we have all this borrowing power, of course we do, we keep increasing taxes.