Entries Tagged 'SF School District' ↓

Sioux Falls School District Community Engagment Meeting (May 4, 2020)

Sioux Falls School District’s Boundary Meetings online

New Virtual Meeting Dates

Monday, May 4th at 7:00 pm

Saturday, May 9th at 10:00 am

Monday, May 11th at 6:00 pm

Thursday, May 14th at noon

Monday, May 18th at 7:00 pm

Sioux Falls School District to go online with Boundary Task Force

I got these emails sent to me today. Seems like a good idea and wondering why the city council doesn’t move to this method;

Hello DeeAnn,

Hello task force members, like many people I am working less these days and have a lot of free time. The social distancing guidelines and rules for not meeting in groups are probably going to remain in effect for awhile.

Considering the limitation on holding in person meetings we should probably arrange for virtual boundary task force meetings using a program such as zoom. The virtual meetings for the middle schools should be arranged first, during the month of May and then our virtual boundary task force meeting after that. We need to move things along.

As Kent pointed out our students are safe because they are all at home. And our teachers are all safe because they are at home. So now is the perfect time to hold virtual meetings.

Would the school district consider setting that up?


Denis Miller

DeeAnn’s response;

Denis and Task Force Members – We have developed a plan that will be communicated within a week to 10 days. The plan moves forward with community engagement meetings (though not in-person) and a final virtual task force meeting.  We will share that information as soon as it is finalized.  Thanks. DeeAnn

City of Sioux Falls Municipal elections prediction update

As someone reminded me yesterday, we were scheduled to have an election next Tuesday. Thank God that didn’t happen as the city is starting to peak in covid cases. But if it would have happened, I still believe Stehly would have won by a landslide. The factors would have been a normal municipal election turnout of your usual 4% or so.

I think those factors have changed, and not sure how this will play out. The biggest thing that has happened was the SOS’s decision to mail everyone a absentee voter application in the mail. You can pick the ballots you want (for instance in SF you could pick city/school & primary). I think this will be hugely popular as you see the numbers of covid cases rise. I’m putting at least a 30-40% voter turnout. I think you will see that many people will like to vote this way, and if anything positive comes from this crisis, it may be pushing for vote by mail, which I think is a great idea. It will increase voter turnout. The critics are on both sides of the aisle, but more heavily from Republicans who have depended on voter suppression for years. This levels the playing field, and it scares them. I’m not sure where their claims of fraud and abuse come from. We have doing absentee by mail for several years in South Dakota, and I think if there was a widespread issue with voter fraud, we would have heard about it already, not just from talking points coming from POTUS’s butt. Remember he claimed millions illegally voted in California in 2016, something that has never been proven.

As you can see from these articles, it is pretty rare and the fines and penalties are steep if you get caught. I don’t think people would be willing to risk it.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice, a law and policy institute which describes itself as progressive, “The consensus from credible research and investigation is that the rate of illegal voting is extremely rare, and the incidence of certain types of fraud – such as impersonating another voter – is virtually nonexistent.”

I still think Stehly will prevail, especially since both her supporters and Jensen’s will get the same applications in the mail. It will be a matter of who gets their supporters to fill out that application. Time will tell. Another factor is that voters will have more than a few minutes to study the ballot at their kitchen tables and discuss it with friends and do research. I’m not saying everyone will, but I think you will see more reasoned and educated voting by going this route.

This is going to be an interesting experiment in our Democracy. The results will be fascinating to study.

New Sioux Falls School Super offered $240K + Benefits

(FF: 57:00) I guess they made this officially public last Thursday. Notice there was ZERO discussion about approving her hire and NO mention of her salary that was buried in the agenda online;

Dr. Jane Stavem, Redmond, Washington, for the position of Superintendent of Schools beginning July 1, 2020, at an annual base salary of $240,000 per year plus a benefit package and a relocation agreement; with the understanding that the relocation agreement will include moving costs and up to ten (10) extra days prior to July 1, 2020 to be mutually agreed upon between Dr. Jane Stavem and the President of the School Board and paid on a per diem basis.

Of course, we will have to take a look at the entire contract that could include a lot of different benefits that could easily tack another $60K onto the package.

Even with a Pandemic on the horizon, the SFSD wants to have public meetings


Dear Task Force Members:

Thank you, once again, for the time and attention you gave to the boundary discussions in January and February.  We are entering into the Community Engagement phase of the process with our first meeting tomorrow night at Memorial Middle School, beginning at 5:30pm.  A listing of other meetings is below.

Today, I am asking for your involvement in one more meeting before we turn the boundary information over to the Board of Education.  I believe there would be real value in listening to the group after you have had an opportunity to see how the topic progresses through the community input stage.  

At the final meeting, I would like to hear from each of you on insights gained as the process has continued, new perspectives you may have gained, strongly held perspectives that have been reinforced – and ultimately – to make sure you have had a chance to voice topics you feel the Board needs to know as they take on the final phase of the boundary process.

The final meeting will truly be your meeting.  The District will do a minimum of talking – and we will maximize our listening.  I hope you can join us on Monday, April 20, 2020 from 5:30-7:30pm in the Board Rooms at IPC to share your thoughts.  A light meal will be available before.  Thank you for everything you have already done in this regard.  And, thank you for your consideration of giving us one more night!


Upcoming Meetings – all start at 5:30pm in the auditorium

Thursday, March 12 at Memorial Middle School

Monday, March 16 at Patrick Henry Middle School

Thursday, March 26 at Whittier Middle School

Tuesday, April 7 at McGovern Middle School

Thursday, April 9 at Edison Middle School

DeeAnn Konrad, APR

Community Relations Supervisor

When will the public know the salary of the new Sioux Falls School Superintendent?

So I have been getting a lot of phone calls today about what the new super will make. According to the school board those negotiations are still ongoing.

My question is why would you announce a chosen candidate before the background check and negotiated salary? Well you wouldn’t. You don’t except a job offer if you don’t know what that job pays. Like, duh!

Currently Stavem makes $295K a year, the last record I could find for her when she worked in Lincoln, NE as an assistant super she made $205K in 2014. Like I said, she could be getting paid well north of $300K.

My educated guess is that a ‘number’ is already floating out there, and I’m guessing the background check is complete. You certainly would NOT be having a presser about your potential employee if that was not done.

So how soon will the public know those mysterious numbers before the School Board votes on it? Hopefully we get more than a 48 hour notice, but I am not holding my breath.

In other SFSD news I was told the other day that the school bond ballots have all been destroyed. They only have to hold them for 60 days after an election or longer if there is a challenge according to state law. The election was in September of 2018. We did challenge them, but they would not let us view OUR PROPERTY as a taxpayer and voter without paying school district employees watching over us. All we wanted to do was use a high speed scanner that we would supply to scan them and have an electronic copy so we could review them later, it probably would have taken an hour at most.

But I still find it strange that the ballots, which probably only took up one large office box, would be destroyed before all the bonds have been taken out and before the school has even been completed. More things that make us go hmmmmm.

Sioux Falls School District announces new Super

I got word last weekend that the decision would be announced soon, and it happened today;

Jane Stavem, currently the superintendent of Lake Washington School District in Redmond, Washington, was announced as the new superintendent during a press conference held by the Sioux Falls School Board Friday afternoon at the Instructional Planning Center. 

Redmond is very close to Seattle and just a few miles from where I went to HighSchool in Lynwood. Microsoft’s headquarters is in Redmond. I am very familiar with the area. It’s a more affluent school district and less diverse than Sioux Falls.

“They (Stavem and Maher) have a lot of similarities. They’re both very strong in their communication and relationship building,” board vice president Carly Reiter said.

While I know very little about Stavem, I can tell you that while Maher started out strong with these characteristics he soon dug a hole and lacked transparency. From listening to the press conference, it sounds like she brings a lot of skills to the table including some political savvy. I look forward to finding out more about her.

I also think she will probably be one of the highest paid public education employees in the state, because I doubt she left her job for less pay. She will probably be making $300K plus in benefits and salary. (she made $295K last year in her current position).

UPDATE: So why did the Sioux Falls School District have a boundary task force?

Surprise! Thanks for your input folks, but;

The new set of potential boundaries also comes more than a week after a 33-member task force convened to help provide recommendations to the school board had disbanded. The task force had asked for a third high school option, but one was not provided until after their meetings were completed.

This after Maher said at the first meeting, “We won’t be making decisions behind closed doors.” Wonder how those words taste? Probably like a school lunch.

Option A (This is the new map that appeared yesterday)
Option B (which I like more)

UPDATE II: The FIX is in on property taxes

UPDATE II: I went and talked to the equalization department today. After reviewing the increase, they explained to me that 90% of the increase is land value, in which is formulated different now. We also calculated that my taxes will probably go up $250 dollars next year, which is NOT $2 a month, just for the record.

UPDATE: I decided to go back and look at the records I could find

From 2008-2009 the value of my home went up 1.8%

From 2009-2012  the value of my home went up 0%

From 2012-2016  the value of my home went up 10% (aprox 2.5% per year)

From 2016-2017  the value of my home went up 1.8%

From 2017-2018  the value of my home went up 1.8%

From 2018-2019  the value of my home went up 2.3%

From 2019-2020  the value of my home went up 21.9%

As I predicted and warned people, the school bond, the new county jail and the multiple TIFs we hand out are going to catch up with us. The $2 a month boloney they pitched us was a farce, because I knew they were going to make hay with the assessments. And sure enough they did.

My increased assessments year after year have been steady, but reasonable. I have owned my home for 17+ years and my property taxes have doubled in that time.

I have done little upgrades to my home, except replacing windows, doors, adding new rain gutters a privacy fence and re-shingling after storm damage. I have done NO upgrades to the interior of my house.

So imagine my surprise when I got this in the mail yesterday;

Well, I was NOT surprised, I saw this coming like a freight train. We can’t keep borrowing money in Sioux Falls and not have a way to pay those bonds, so they bleed it out of us through back door tricks like assessments. Can I afford a 21.9% increase in my assessed value? I suppose, but it also means a lot less money in my pocket.

It was interesting listening to the State Legislators talk yesterday at the legislative coffee about state funding of education. Two Republicans made great points;

• The state gives the districts money and the districts decide how that money is spent (salaries, etc.).

• Administrator pay in SD ranks at 15th while teacher pay is at 49th. I haven’t checked that stat, but I know at one time in was around 22nd. There is a obvious disparity.

• Low voter turnout at school elections. The past school bond and school board elections both had around a 4% turnout. Basically the legislator was saying, if you want to have a say on how your local district is being funded, maybe you should show up and vote in these elections. AMEN Brother! But I also have to add their is voter suppression when you use super precincts, no precincts in the northern part of our city and have district finance department employees ‘hand count’ votes, while the business director puts those counts into the system without oversight.

Who knew that owning a house that was built in 1889 could increase in value by almost 22% in one year? Not bad for a home that is 131 years old. What a joke.