Monday, April 27, 2015

State Screams of "NOT MY JOB" Puts Pressure on Property Taxes for Schools

The Rutland School is faced with the difficult task of going to the polls to opt-out to get funding that will allow them to be some-what competitive with other districts when it comes to paying their teachers.    The issue is that districts are not able to keep up with the costs thanks to the lack of vision from the state.  

The state loves to use vague statements about how they do so much for education.  That it is all on the school boards and local schools to deal with the problems.  Why should the state be the one to make sure that all students can receive a sound educational opportunity?

The Superintendent of Rutland explains the need for the opt-out on KELO TV:

"Something does need to be done because we have teachers who are leaving who can't make ends meet with the salary that we have and that's sad," Merager said. 
A renewal amount needs to be higher than the original $100,000 opt out to have any impact on teachers’ salaries. The district is proposing an additional $350,000. 
"What we are looking at doing with that is looking at an increase of $4,000 to $5,000 for our teachers over the next several years; it will keep us from falling further behind is what it will do," Fahrenwald said.

The problem that Rutland is forced to deal with is that they have been $6,000 behind other schools their size according to Rutland experienced teacher Jill Merager.  So, why not just rely on the opt-out to solve the problem?  Clearly they are slacking on paying their fair-share.  Not so fast say Superintendent Fahrenwald:

South Dakota has the lowest contribution of state dollars toward public education in the nation. 
"We are very comparable when we look at local tax dollars that go to education we are very comparable to other states. But the state funding piece of that is missing and we are hopeful that the governor's task force will address that issue," Fahrenwald said. 
Let us all hope that will be the case, but Daugaard's administration must also be willing to listen to the recommendations and not use excuses to ignore the problems like they did after last year's panel on education in South Dakota. 

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