Monday, October 28, 2013

Getting Ready for the GOP Education Funding Two-step

Rep. Kathy Tyler reported on the education funding panel that was supposed to meet this summer and provide recommendations.  The good news is that some GOP members recognize that they need to get funding back to the correct level if they want to be able to increase teacher retention and maybe, just maybe show the young people out there that the state cares about teachers and education to encourage them to go into the field.
The major bill that came out of the committee was one to increase the per student allocation to $4805 for the 2014-2015 school year. That is the amount that it would have been in 2012 if the legislature had followed the law. It’s nowhere close to what it should be, but it’s a 3.8% increase, much more than schools would be getting at the current rate. It was a close 8 to 7 vote.
While Rep. Tyler stays neutral with her response, she points out the standard GOP response to education funding.
It’s so frustrating.  Most opponents say they know education needs to be funded. They’ve heard the stories, but there’s always an excuse: state insurance rates are going up, look at the disaster out west, we don’t know what the economy is going to do, the money’s not there (yes it is). A good education system is the foundation for everything else this state wants to do. As one superintendent stated, “We are in crisis mode.”
It appears that she was dead-on.  Take Representative Larry Tidemann's position:
“You don’t just take care of one child and forget the other five,” said Sen. Larry Tidemann, R-Brookings, who voted against the committee’s proposal. “I fully support education, but $23 million is a sizable chunk. I have to see what else there is to be taken care of.” 
Tidemann said he also felt uncomfortable with giving schools more money with no accountability that tied it to graduation and success rates. 
SDSU students, take notice of these comments and remember when it is time to vote.  Because of all of the cuts to funding, higher education was forced to take a bigger hit.
The annual $1.5 million grant was halted, effective the Oct. 1 start of the federal fiscal year, because the governor and Legislature cut state funding for public universities two years ago.
or our esteemed Governor Dennis Daugaard:
Aside from the health care law, Daugaard also addressed school funding, saying it is unlikely South Dakota will have enough money next fiscal year to give districts much extra aid....The governor said revenues through the first three months of this budget year are up just slightly from projections. If that trend continues, there won't be much for schools beyond the 1.6 percent increase required in state law, he said.
Is it any wonder why honest Representative's like Mrs. Tyler get so frustrated.  If you are frustrated to with the promises on one hand and the slap in the face when it comes to trying to do the work. 

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