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 What is Happening to Education in South Dakota?

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mouthpiece
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PostSubject: What is Happening to Education in South Dakota?   Sun Apr 19, 2009 8:25 pm

What is Happening to Education in South Dakota?

I fully support a significant change of funding for our schools in South Dakota. Where a child is born should not dictate the education the child has. The judicial system has once again disappointed the public and rural South Dakota must pick up the pieces. The question is how?

We need to remember that we control government and both Republicans and Democrats need to see we need to make changes to make sure our children receive the best education we can afford.

We need to vote for legislators who are going to promote rural education. The voters booth is the next place we can voice our distaste of the current educational funding problems.
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PostSubject: exactly how much more money for schools?   Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:09 pm

You made some strong generalizations about SD education spending and some unconstructive criticism which you are entitled to do on a forum.

Generalizations raise questions.

Do you have any dollar amounts in mind? When you say that where a child is born shouldn't dictate his education do you mean that education is better for kids not born in SD? Because Minnesota appears to spend more per student or because you have some proof that SD kids don't have what it takes to succeed after highschool?

There are school districts in SD that are doing a good job with the money they have, lets not forget them. We can learn from them.

A. When you suggest more funding for education the money must come from some other part of the budget. What part do you want to cut? Our legislators look for savings and put as much money into education as they can. If you think you could have done better then fill us in on your solution.
B. The disparity between Minnesota school funding figures and SD funding figures is due to several factors, some are very significant. The percentage of Minnesota teachers with masters degrees is higher than SD and many SD teachers do not meet Minnesota requirments so of course the SD salaries are lower. SD also has no income tax. The way that per student spending is published is different in MN and SD. SD schools all have capital outlay fund expenditures which are not generally published as part of the per student spending. Also the SD per student funding formula figure is never the amount that is actually spent on any SD student. So what amount of money were you looking for?
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PostSubject: Equal Educational Opportunity   Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:27 pm

Equal Educational Opportunity

I do not want to compare Minnesota to South Dakota. This is like comparing apples to oranges because of the methods the two states utilize in funding education.

It has long been pointed out, over 25 years, that educational funding based solely on real property gives to the wealthier districts and as a results potentially provides a better education. This point is clearly debatable.

I am speaking to the law suit that has been reported over the last few months, in which, Milbank joined as a party I believe. I am of the opinion that the law suit may not provide a legal remedy but we may need to look to a political remedy.

My position is very general at this point.
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PostSubject: I agree that the formula did not solve the problems   Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:04 pm

I agree that the SD funding formula didn't entirely remove the disparity between districts with valuable real property and districts with less. It was an attempt. It only affects general fund. The capital outlay fund is still based soley on the real property taxes of the district and that means that the districts with more taxable real property have more money. There's alot of expenses that can be moved back and forth from general fund to capital outlay fund.

Real property taxes don't always correlate with wealth. Sioux Falls has a higher percentage of wealth in working people and professionals that don't pay much real property tax. At the same time their schools are growing and are at a disadvantage because the per student formula funds on the number of students they had last year. While this year they have more. Ouch.

Day and Roberts County (to name just two counties) has poverty stricken ranchers and farmers that pay more real estate tax than many a rich attorney or doctor. I am no fan of funding education by real estate tax.

To be fair SD is trying to revise it's property tax system to reflect the income from the farm and ranch land. About time.

The lawsuit was an attempt for more money plain and simple, it couldn't address the disparity between districts. Now we are all back to working it out with the legislators and the tax payers where I think the debate belongs. So let's have at it. Maybe some of the research the School districts did will improve the debate.
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PostSubject: Re: What is Happening to Education in South Dakota?   Thu Apr 30, 2009 3:22 pm

I was very involved as a schoolboard member in the Milbank School district 2000-2003. I planned to only serve one term and that is what i did. But that three year term i gave it my very best and my only concern was to be the very best rep of the students and taxpayers. From 1998-2000 I attended every meeting as a spectator.
One of things i did was interview students who did not finish their education in Milbank classes of 1996-2000, it took a couple of years and was a real eye opener. 20% of the original class in Milbank (freshman) did not graduate there. There was no plant closing or layoffs that would have contributed to such a percentage. I am happy things are different now. Financially, i am afraid the school district is heading for disaster and that disaster will occur when the present superintendent leaves. It is no secret that Linda S. and I fought hard together to prevent 2 opt out attempts. It is wrong that many of the people on the other side of the issue paid only property tax on their houses to fund education. The people who fund education own a brick and mortar business or a farm. If they have a bad year, too bad, taxes are the same. That is a salary cut for those people, we were not willing to take a further cut to fund a salary raise for others. For the record neither Linda S. or I ever said the district teachers were overpaid. We did say they were fairly paid.
Mouthpiece; reading the Ortonville political situation has been interesting to me but i know very little about it or any of the people involved. But i will tell you in my opinion the situation in the Milbank school district was every bit as rotten.
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