Entries Tagged 'SF School Board Member' ↓

Pettigrew & Cathedral Neighborhood Associations Body Check the City & School District

I attended the almost 90 minute meeting tonight (I will have a YT video up soon if you don’t have FB) and it was pretty clear what the neighborhood wanted, GREENSPACE! There was a standing vote, and besides the reporters and city/school staff, everyone was standing in approval of leaving it a park.

The most interesting part was that it seems now the staff from the city and the school district said they have NO PLANS for it. Kevin Smith from the city further pointed out that they don’t own the property but help maintain it.

Funny how transparency works, SUNSHINE WINS THE DAY!

Did anybody even know there was a Sioux Falls School Board election?



If you do a search on google with key words ‘sioux falls school board election 2022’ you will notice the only independent media that comes up is that the election was cancelled because of no candidates except the incumbents.

The SF School District, the City of Sioux Falls and the SD SOS sites ALL mention the election in advance of the February filing deadline. But NO local mainstream media even told the public there was 2 seats up for grabs. I’m even guilty, because I can’t even find if I mentioned it on my blog.

Maybe NO ONE is running because NO ONE knew about it?

While our local media continues to give FREE campaign advertising to the incumbent mayor, they have remained silent about the school board election.

PACs are being used to funnel big money into city elections by a handful of people

Before we get to the PACs dark money into our city elections an update on the races.

In the school board race there are 3 people circulating for the two seats. Baker and Reiter plan to run for re-election, and the 3rd person’s name escapes me, but it is a woman from the banking sector.

MATT PAULSON IS USING HIS PERSONAL WEALTH TO FUNNEL MONEY INTO THE RACES USING PACS

The first PAC that is doing this is Paul TenHaken’s PAC ran by his mentor Joel Dykstra, Next Generation (DOCS). Which has funneled money to Merkouris and Curt Soehl. Major Donors below;

But the big PAC is the one that seems to be funded almost solely by Matt Paulson, Falls Community Growth (DOCS). Paulson funneled $20,000 of his personal wealth (Half from himself and Half from his LLC) into the PAC and turned around under the shield of the PAC to donate $2,500 to Soehl (which explains why certain people have decided to NOT run against him, I won’t say names) and $5,000 to Barranco.

For the record, this is totally legal, it’s just a back door way for an individual with a lot of money to give thousands of dollars to candidates while not classifying it as an individual donation. It has been going on for years from donors like Sanford, Dykhouse and Lloyd.

As someone said to me yesterday, “It seems Mr. Paulson sees himself as a kingmaker.” Money can buy you a seat on the council, he helped pay Jensen’s rent and now he is all in on some more candidates.

South Dakota Public Education’s Dirty Little Secret

While everyone is gnashing teeth over teachers rolling around on ice for a handful of bills, there is one part of the story missing from the conversation;

The South Dakota Education Association President says he believes the event was well-intentioned but…
“It just underscores the fact that educators don’t have the resources necessary to meet the needs of their students and that’s what’s kind of cropping up here I think,” SDEA President Loren Paul said.


Not really. It is a well known secret that while teacher pay in South Dakota may be dead last, administrator pay rates anywhere from 11th33rd in the country depending on the position. I have often asked the question why NON-UNION administrators are paid at such a higher National rate then teachers? This is the real disparity issue here and if it was adjusted there would be plenty of money for teacher pay and school room supplies so teachers don’t have to act like rootin’ hogs on the ice.


What often amazes me when ‘teacher pay’ stories come up every year around this time, nobody in the media talks about this disparity or the fact that a lot of private and public professional jobs like nursing also pay dead last in the state. It seems mentioning management pay in these articles is taboo.


I encourage the local media to dig around a little, and ASK why administrator pay rates average around 25th in the nation while teacher pay rates 49th? Things that make you go hmmmmm . . .

Should the Sioux Falls School Board team up with City Council to offer FREE public transit rides for minors?

As I reported in August, Rapid City decided to extend a FREE public transit ride program to students. I think Sioux Falls should do the same, and our cost would be minimal if anything. We already do it during summer months mostly so food insecure kids can eat in the summer.

Recently Congress passed an infrastructure bill that has billions in it for public transit. Sioux Falls could take advantage of this by hiring and training more drivers and extending routes and time of service.

Now, don’t be fooled, this cannot just happen with a stroke of the pen. The devil is in the details. I encourage the school board to sit down with the city council in a public work session to discuss how to move forward. Let’s face it, there would have to be some route changes and other logistics, but it’s doable.

A candidate for mayor put it best recently in a FB post;

Regardless if it’s a “public school issue,” the shortage of bus drivers is a community problem. Many SFPS students also use public transportation, and as our city grows, the need for a robust public transportation system is a must.

A lack of planning on critical issues like this is why we end up with parents being asked to drive school buses. We can and will do better.

As they point out, different branches of local government CAN work together on this for a solution. I reached out to a school board member and a city councilor last night about the idea, hopefully talks will happen soon.

Some may not know this, but I actually consulted and encouraged a city councilor to start the FREE summer youth rides when they asked me if their idea was worth pursuing. It was then and a broader approach should be pursued now.

UPDATE:Pathetic Sioux Falls School Board Election turnout

UPDATE: Looks like Parker and Murren will be our board members.

As I predicted, turnout was awful;

Turnout: 5.13 %

6,133 registered voters cast ballots

119,511 Registered Voters for the 2021 School Election

Murren leads right now by a wide margin and will likely win one of the seats, the other is a toss up. I ended up voting for Parker as my 2nd choice.

Over $35k raised for Sioux Falls School Board Race

When I hear things like this, I often shake my head and wonder why we have so much money in a school board race;

According to the four pre-election campaign finance reports filed Monday, so far, school board candidates have raised more than $35,000.

Notable contributions include former mayor Mike Huether and Augustana University president Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin giving to Anthony Pizer, while CEO of First PREMIER Bank Dana Dykhouse gave to both Pizer and Marc Murren.

I find it troubling that a position that pays very little has so much money going towards the race. When it comes to money in races like this, in which probably around 5-10% of qualified voters will even cast a ballot you have to wonder what the donors are trying to buy, especially in a district in which almost half of the students are on FREE or reduced lunches and many are living in poverty. Wouldn’t the $35k be more useful towards the food banks or youth mentorship programs?

The only thing the school board has successfully really accomplished over the past few years is higher taxes. I will admit that we do have a pretty good public school system in Sioux Falls when compared to the rest of the country, but I also think the school board needs to work on efficiency when it comes to how our money is spent.

I hope more people vote, but when you only have ‘voting centers’ in the Southern part of the city, we know how this rolls.

I am glad that many candidates are running, and that is one positive. I still have only endorsed Marc Murren and am still mulling over who my second choice would be.

Marc Murren is the best choice for the Sioux Falls School Board

In full disclosure, I don’t personally know anybody running for school board except the incumbent and I have not communicated by phone or email with any of the candidates.

The election is on May 18th and the Argus put out this handy little Q & A and BIOs.

I like the fact that Murren is a retired educator and coach. He also understands the importance of facing our biggest problems head on with input from our community;

What are the biggest issues you see facing the Sioux Falls School District today?
Murren: Poverty. Poverty creates great inequities for young people.

Nothing against the other people running, I’m sure they are fine folks but I like the life experiences of Murren and think that it is what makes him the most qualified for one of the two seats.

I may change my mind after watching the forum(s) but I think the first choice for school board is pretty cut and dry. Murren seems to realize our challenges, want to fix them, and knows the best way to do that is thru open and transparent governing.

I’m still mulling over who my second vote will go to.

Improper Political Sign Placement

Trust me, I am not going to rail on Mr. Pizer for breaking the rules. In every local election I see the same ignorant mistakes. In this case, not only has Anthony placed his sign on restricted property, he ironically placed it out of the district. And you want to be my latex salesman!

I believe this was either in the Harrisburg or Tea school district

There are some simple rules here;

• Never place signs on public property or in the parking strip commonly known as the boulevard.

• Place your signs in the ACTUAL district you are running in.

• Always check local ordinances on what you can and cannot do.

To tell you the truth, I could give to sh!ts about who is going to replace another rubberstamper on the school board. I just know my property taxes continue to grow and grow and grow, and nobody on that board cares.

Sioux Falls School Board Candidate makes Announcement

Anthony J. Pizer, Candidate for school board sent this announcement out recently;

I am running for school board because I believe in the power of education to transform peoples’ lives as well as our community.

Sioux Falls has a strong public school system that benefits, not only students and families, but our region as a whole. I have seen this firsthand as a Leadership Sioux Falls graduate, Chair of the Sioux Falls Public Schools Education Foundation, and SFSD Boundary Task Force member. For the past ten years, I have been a mentor to the same student with the LSS school-based mentor program. Through this experience, I have seen my mentee grow and develop through all levels of the school district.

My wife, Jessica, and I have two elementary-age children, James and Elyse. They are enrolled in All City Elementary, a Sioux Falls public school that requires parental commitment to volunteering weekly at the school. By spending time in the classroom, I have seen the incredibly talented educators we have in our district and the challenges they face. Therefore, I believe we must support teachers and staff so they can meet the needs and goals of each student.

I run my own business as a Financial Advisor for Thrivent Financial. This has given me a strong understanding of fiscal responsibility and planning to successfully meet financial goals in an efficient and effective manner.

The three areas I believe our district needs to focus on for the future are workforce development, student equity, and community engagement. Because the students of today will work in and lead our community tomorrow, our students and teachers need to have the resources available to meet the needs and goals of the future. Student equity ensures that one’s education, access, and opportunities are not dictated by where they live in Sioux Falls. Finally, our schools and city mutually benefit when community members take an active part in assuring the development of our next generation. I would appreciate your vote on May 18th.

Anthony Pizer
Candidate for Sioux Falls School Board

He lost me at Workforce Development, I want to hear more from him by what he means by that. Whatever happened to giving kids an education that encourages them to go onto to doing whatever they want to after graduation? Whether that is a plumber, soldier, college student, etc.

I am glad he is running though and hope to see more candidates announcing.