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.

 

 



8 comments ↓

#1 scott on 09.02.11 at 7:55 am

a few weeks ago, the aballah clan was having lunch at jimmy john’s. i wish i would’ve asked the old man what he thought of his son basically suing him on the poor job he and his cohorts are doing with education in the state.

#2 l3wis on 09.02.11 at 8:01 am

No shit. Isn’t that a clown car that would be hard to get into? I have seen them out together publicly, and I have had the ‘pleasure’ 🙂 of meeting Mr. Gene on several occasions at various restaurants I have worked at. He’s a grumpy old toad, but I kinda like him. You have to remember that he is former HI-PO, he knows the struggles of state funding. He also leans a bit left, though he will tell you to your face you are liberal commie. He cracks me up.

#3 Costner on 09.02.11 at 8:35 am

They are right though… if enough people are really upset about school funding, they will elect people who fund schools to a more appropriate level. The problem is, a lot of people become disenfranchised when they see the schools have enough money to sue the state, or when they announce pay increases for administrators, or when they spend piles of cash to buy students iPods or laptops.

The reality is the small town schools are the ones that are really suffering, but small towns don’t have the voters like the larger districts so their voices aren’t heard. Add in the fact that we still have dozens upon dozens of schools that refuse to consolidate for fear of losing their town’s identity (even when consolidation would save millions per year) and it seems both sides of this battle are deeply entrenched with nobody willing to jump out of the foxhole and talk about compromise.

#4 hmr59 on 09.04.11 at 9:09 pm

“both sides…are deeply entrenched with nobody willing to jump out of the foxhole and talk about compromise.”

Costner, I think you just boiled down PolySci 101, version 2011…well said!

#5 John2 on 09.06.11 at 7:18 am

“. . . small town schools are the ones that are really suffering, but small towns don’t have the voters like the larger districts so their voices aren’t heard. Add in the fact that we still have dozens upon dozens of schools that refuse to consolidate for fear of losing their town’s identity (even when consolidation would save millions per year)”

That is exactly why consolidation must be forced. Oh, the small, insignificant, irrelevant Bugtussles get to vote; they lose, now consolidate. But the legislature and governor practice no meaningful leadership other than more corporate welfare and freeze-frame the 1950s socio-economic picture.

#6 l3wis on 09.06.11 at 7:34 am

I don’t agree with consolidation. Rural kids already spend enough time on school buses, when they should be spending more time in classrooms. We need to get off this mindset that public education is an expense with no rewards, it is an investment in the future of our state and workforce. We keep treating it like our garbage bill.

#7 Costner on 09.06.11 at 10:49 am

Consolidation isn’t always the answer obviously, but in some cases it honestly is.

I know some small towns in Northeast SD that fought and fought and fought to keep their schools. You had classes (I’m talking grades here) with under a dozen students. The school couldn’t afford to have all the teachers for various subjects, so the same person that taught English might also teach Science. Either that or they did the rural TV thing.

The students suffered because of it. They didn’t get the same experience and same benefits those in a larger school received, all because some townfolk don’t want to shutter the school.

The thing is sometimes bussing isn’t even an issue because some of these small downs are only 10 or 15 minutes apart. I don’t want a kid to have to ride a bus for an hour or 90 minutes each way, but if an extra 10 minutes means he or she will have the advantages that come with a properly sized school than it can be worth it.

Should consolidation be forced? Maybe not… but strongly encouraged with financial rewards – you bet. We shouldn’t be providing additional funding to small schools just because they are small because that is a financial incentive to resist consolidation. With the age of some of these schools and the sizes of some of the classes it seems more of it needs to happen in order for the students to have the best chance at long-term success.

#8 l3wis on 09.06.11 at 11:34 am

Video learning may be an option. I think sometimes schools are way behind when it comes to technology, especially when technology can save you money.

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