Thursday, April 23, 2015

Daugaard Must Look Past Blaming Schools For Not Providing the Funding

The Education Blue Ribbon Task Force on Education has set dates and times for the public meetings on education.  These are available on the sparse website dedicated to the task force.  

June 2 @ 6:30 PMPublic MeetingChamberlain (location TBD)
June 3 @ 6:30 PMPublic MeetingRapid City (location TBD)
June 16 @ 6:30 PMPublic MeetingSioux Falls (location TBD)
June 17 @ 6:30 PMPublic MeetingYankton (location TBD)
June 22 @ 6:30 PMPublic MeetingWatertown (location TBD)
June 23 @ 6:30 PMPublic MeetingAberdeen (location TBD)

While it is good to see that they have already had some meetings.  One problem with the group is that Daugaard attempts to set a tone that it must be the schools fault for the low teacher salaries.
We need to understand where teacher shortages are occurring and what can be done to address them. We need to ask why 12 states can spend less per student than South Dakota, yet pay their teachers more. We need to ask why, even as we hear growing concerns about teacher salaries, many schools' reserve funds are increasing. These questions need to be answered with hard data, not anecdotes or opinion surveys. 
The problem is that you cannot have a conversation, when you say that we need data and you cherry pick data that makes the state look wonderful.  The Governor wants hard data, so here is some hard data from the federal government reported by the census department.  The numbers are set for 2012 funding levels.

In 2012 the funding from the state was at $395,054,000 from the state for 142,783 K-12 students.  This puts the states rank of contribution per student at 49th.  The only state that we are ahead of is Arizona.  This put the states level of education contribution at 30.5% and this puts us dead last out of 50.  DEAD LAST.  

This is not an anecdote.  This is not an opinion survey.  This is hard data that the state can't ignore.  Traditionally, salaries are impacted by the total state aid offered.  The local property taxes are used mostly for the reoccurring expenses like heating, transportation, and capital outlay.  The other major source is federal money which is 16.4% and that puts as first for relying on federal monies.  

I can only hope the panel will bring this back to the Governor and tell him that he should stop claiming that the state government does SO much and it must be on the backs of the local districts.  


  1. Right on! Enough excuses: let's solve the the problem that's staring us in the face.

  2. If only politicians first concerns were solving real problems.