Nothing more disheartening then when government entities bring in hired guns and after the smoke clears they leave for greener pastures;

The South Dakota Board of Regents CEO and Director, Brian Maher, has been selected as a finalist for the next Nebraska Commissioner of Education.

Maher was with us in South Dakota for almost 8 years and in his two positions he has left quite the impact. He was rumored to have been brought in to get the school bond passed ($300 million bond debt). You remember that one with hand counting by district employees and computer tabulation input by administrators.

I hope the Nebraska board of education takes a deep dive into Maher’s history in South Dakota; saddling Sioux Falls residents with millions in debt and leaving the SDBOR in cultural disarray. Seems like some good resume builders. You also wonder what kind of pension, if any, Maher will be receiving from either the SFSD or the SDBOR (he may not be getting anything besides his salary, maybe something the media should look into).

Well at least he isn’t moving to California 🙁

During the informational meeting today, the Parks Department proposed turning over the community centers to the SFSD for a after school program.

Councilor Merkouris questioned how this was concocted behind closed doors without input from a majority of the council and school board. He didn’t put it that way and was little more clever and asked how the SFSD can send out notifications for this program’s enrollment before the council or school board approved this.

The SFSD and the Parks Department tried to tie in future proposed indoor rec and pool centers. So are they proposing the SFSD take over the Midco Aquatic center? Yankton Trail Park? If you are trying to justify these indoor rec centers, then justify them for city public use not for supplementing the SFSD after school programs.

I agree this is needed, but I am with Rich, why wasn’t our policy body, the council, working on this? I often question what the purpose of our council is if the mayor’s office is molding policy and sponsoring it on the agenda. Might as well just put eight tic-tac-toe playing chickens on the dais, probably make better decisions 🙂

Councilor Starr questioned if the city will be saving any money? It doesn’t appear that way, it looks like we will still be providing funding since the city will still have use of the community centers on some occasions.

While I agree the SFSD should be sponsoring this program, I’m not sure it is the responsibility of city coffers (sales taxes) to help with this. I have been a major proponent of Pre-K education and public funding of it, but that should come from property taxes, Federal grants and mostly state coffers. We have a child care crisis in this city and country, no denying it, but we need to direct funding from the correct coffer. When I have to drive over 6″ ice ruts down my residential street, I’m not wondering why the city isn’t funding child care, I’m wondering why they are not spending my sales taxes on the most basic of needs like road maintenance.

During the working session recently, the school board was considering how they are going to do elections and board member terms moving forward. They want to switch to 4 year terms for school board members (I think they are 3 years right now) and sync them with the city elections in the Spring. They looked at this as helping voter turnout. The other big droning argument in the room was ‘saving money’. It irritates me when a group of non-elected government workers and elected officials get giddy over saving money on elections. I’m all for being prudent when it comes to elections, and I think this will be a cost saving measure to do so, but to make it your main argument OVER voter turnout makes me wonder what this is really about?

I will have to give Cynthia Mickelson props, she is one of the rare local public servants who actually wants the public to understand what she does and why. I don’t always agree with Mickelson, but she is willing to have that conversation and provide answers when asked. She has always either returned my calls, my texts or emails and doesn’t shy away from having difficult policy discussions. You can fault elected officials for NOT being transparent or just blatant laziness but it is difficult to become frustrated with an official who wants to work with you.

Cynthia’s N/L was informative, but the chart below really astonished me with how we fund public education now, opposed to 70 years ago;