Entries Tagged 'SF School District' ↓

Sioux Falls School District announces naming committee

In a press release, Super Maher said, “We figured we would call on a group that not only is good at keeping secrets but has great historical knowledge when it comes to famous leaders.”

SD State Legislature won’t fund education properly but want schools to buy plaques that violate church and state

God, Guns, and Abortion, that is all the legislature seems to be concerned about. Now they want schools to violate separation of church and state, yet provide NO funding mechanism;

FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to require 1 the national motto of the United States to be

2 displayed in public schools.


4 Section 1. That chapter 13-24 be amended by adding a NEW SECTION to read:

5 Beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, the national motto of the United States, “In God

6 We Trust,” shall be displayed in each public school. The display shall be located in a prominent

7 location within each public school. The display may take the form of a mounted plaque, student

8 artwork, or any other appropriate form as determined by the school principal.

9 For the purposes of this section, a prominent location is a school entryway, cafeteria, or

10 other common area where students are most likely to see the national motto display.

While some may argue that the term ‘GOD’ doesn’t talk about a specific religion, I still think it borders on violation of the separation clause. What’s even worse is that the legislature wants schools to apparently fund this on their own without providing a funding mechanism. A sign or plaque that is prominently displayed could cost anywhere from $75 to $750 dollars. This is a waste of educational dollars. If I was one of these schools I would take a highlighter to a dollar bill and put it in a frame and hang that up. In America, we only have one true God, and it is green.

Why is the Sioux Falls School District being so secret about naming new schools? Tradition?

In defense of tradition, they have named schools this way for over decade;

District policy requires that name be selected by a committee, and to help the committee decide, the district conducted a survey on its website.

But the public won’t see those survey results. Maher on Monday denied an Argus Leader open records request for all responses submitted to the survey.

”The raw survey data does not stand alone and is not required of the policy in the naming process,” Maher’s response stated. “Instead, it is a means for the committee to solicit input from the community as one factor for consideration.”

But that doesn’t mean the tradition should continue. Why not solicit input from the community in a public meeting? I suggest the committee meet in public with the top names and discuss in an open forum and take public input before they vote on the final decision. Silly me, that would require the SFSD to change all of their policies on transparency.

And who is sitting on this secret committee?

While I suppose I should be angry, I am certainly not surprised. This process has been secretive from the beginning. It’s one of the biggest shams ever pulled on the citizens of Sioux Falls. Does it really matter what these schools are called? In my mind they will always stand for corruption whether you name it Jefferson or Attila the Hun High School.

Property tax reduction program ‘Questionable’

The more we look into the property tax reductions over the past ten years, the more questions we have. While we are still researching this, some things that stick out so far;

DOC: Historical – Tax Reduction Program.pdf

Tax Reduction Program – Informational Jan. 8.pdf

How was the mayor(s) (Munson & Huether) able to sign off on these, through the Planning Department without the review of the city council? Or even the County Commissions and School District? Were there any state laws violated?

One of the biggest recipients was involved in many LLC’s and ownership groups related to Legacy Development. Ironically one of the persons who would have known about the reductions, Daren Ketchum, now works for Legacy.

Many of the recipients are long time established, successful Sioux Falls businesses, like Raven & Gage brothers. Why would they need tax incentives?

Some of the recipients also received TIFs on top of the reduction, for example Washington Square.

Ironically Midco received a 2018 reduction of $129K. This is just a year after announcing a sponsorship of our Aquatic Center.

Did the TenHaken administration decide to blow the lid off of this to 1) wash there hands of the practice and 2) to see if the media will do some digging around? COS Erica Beck worked in the Planning office when some of these reductions were handed out.

Like I said, we are still researching the ‘many’ connections between the reduction recipients and the previous administration and will have more findings coming soon.

Just name the new High School ‘Jefferson’ and get it over with

Don’t you love all this ‘officialness’ and ‘secrecy’ surrounding the new school names? Shocker? Right?

More than 2,000 people weighed in on names for a new Sioux Falls high school and middle school after a survey went out last month.

But the public won’t know what their name suggestions were.

Sioux Falls School District spokeswoman Carly Uthe told the Argus Leader on Wednesday that suggestions will be given to a naming committee assembled by Superintendent Brian Maher. That committee will meet privately to review the suggestions, choose a name for each school and bring those names before the school board for a final vote as early as Jan. 28.

“We aren’t releasing any specific names we’ve received,” Uthe said via email.

So Why the F’ck did you ask for them to begin with? What would be the harm in 1) Showing the TOP 20 suggestions to the public (that fit the criteria) and 2) having the naming committee’s meeting open to the public with public comment? How is a secret meeting, with secret people selected by the Super have anything to do with involving the public?

You might as well skip all this hoopla, slap Jefferson’s name on the new HS and get it over with.

Did someone do a cartoon about the SFSD?

I’m not sure how old this is, but it seems some problems will never be solved, even with $300 Million in bond payments.

Sioux Falls City Council (12/11) & SF School Board (12/10) Meetings

Meeting I is the informational. Meeting II is the Regular city councilor and Meeting III is SF School Board (where they were actually open about who they were buying the middle school land from BEFORE the meeting started on the agenda – Shocker!)

Argus ED Board Chastises SF School District on transparency

While I applaud the Argus for writing this, I have a feeling it won’t change much;

It’s hard to imagine a public entity that necessitates transparency more than a school district, which operates under a compact of trust with families that send their children to school each day.

(The Argus requested to see the bids for the Construction Manager at Risk and the SFSD refused to give them to them citing state law ‘competive proposal process’. I find it ironic that they said that the state ‘doesn’t require’ them to give the information, but they could . . .)

It often surprises me that the SFSD wants our help and all ears when they need to pass bonds or more for teacher pay, but say very little when spending our money. ALL taxpayers (with or without children) should be deeply involved with public education, not just for fiscal reasons, but for the future of our children.


We are preparing a response to the SFSD about the half-ass information they gave us on the election. I will publish once we finish it.

Sioux Falls School Board meetings are turning into comedy shows

You really couldn’t make this stuff up unless you were writing for the Onion;

The same company credited with a $1 million donation to buy land for the new Sioux Falls high school will oversee its construction.

Journey Group was awarded a $3.67 million contract with the Sioux Falls School District Monday night during a regular school board meeting. The contract authorizes Journey to serve as the district’s construction manager at risk as it designs and constructs a planned $84 million high school.

Superintendent Brian Maher said the decision to buy the northwest Sioux Falls land that came with Journey’s $1 million donation was completely separate from the decision to hire the company to oversee construction.

“One of the things that we said very early on is Journey should not get this job because of the land acquisition of the school district,” Maher said. “The other piece of that is they should not be precluded from getting this job.”

I literally had to read Brian’s statement 3 times before I busted up laughing. Do you think the citizens are that naive? I just assumed the land donation was tied into a lucrative contract to build the school. I even stated on Lalley’s show that Journey is a good company that has a proven track record, I don’t think citizens would balk at the decision. Are we supposed to be surprised? I said all along that most of these decisions were probably made before the task force even met.

But it doesn’t stop board members from adding an extra layer of frosting;

“I was very pleased with all four, but Journey really was impressive,” board member Todd Thoelke said Monday ahead of the board vote. “And it’s the one I’m most comfortable with.”

He should of just said, “While the Walmart and Dollar Store cola’s are a good value, we had to go with Coca-Cola at my kid’s birthday party.”

As I said to a friend the other day, we all know they are going to pick Jefferson for the name of the new HS, heck the Super has even hinted at it. So why waste time and resources on a naming committee? I said Maher should just say on December 1st, “We have decided to name the new school Jefferson. If anybody or any group in Sioux Falls has an issue with that, fill out a petition supporting a different specific name and we will take it up for consideration on January 1st. Good luck.”

Just like the special school bond election, this naming process will be tightly controlled, and there will be zero wiggle room when they announce their pre-determined name of Jefferson. We will all be as shocked just like when they told us they were naming the EC after T Denny.

Local government is turning into open mic night.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, Nov 27-28, 2018

No regular meetings this next week, but some interesting tidbits.

Joint Minnehaha County/SF City Council meeting • 4 PM (11/27)

This one is at the County Commission Chambers in the Administration Building.

Another study by Augustana on Homeless peeps. Why do homeless studies cost so much? What? No qualified volunteers?

DOC: Homeless-Study

Breakfast Club • 7:30 AM (11/28)

What an interesting topic to cover over juice and donuts;