Friday, December 23, 2011

SD Education Leaders And School Funding

The SD Rushmore Political Action Committee trumpets that "Education Leaders Have Positive Outlook On Gov. Daugaard's Budget Proposal."  The post links to this article that contains the damning faint praise such as
“This budget puts South Dakota schools back on track to regular increases using the current formula in statute,” said Linda Whitney, Sanborn Central Superintendent of Schools. “After a tough year last year, we appreciate the Governor's commitment to a return to the funding formula.”
Let's parse that a bit.  Whitney doesn't say she's happy with the funding; she's just happy there won't be cuts and that the Governor intends to "return to the funding formula."

The article also contains these paragraphs:
Jason Selchert, President of South Dakota United Schools’ Association and Gayville-Volin superintendent of schools, affirmed his organization’s optimism for the FY13 budget.

“SDUSA is a group of 111 school districts and we support the premise of the budget. Our schools are committed to working with Governor Daugaard and the legislature to have a positive discussion about the future of education in South Dakota. This budget signals an interest from the Governor in having those discussions, and we hope the Governor and legislature will continue to work with schools in the future.”
Again, Selchert doesn't support the actual numbers; he supports "the premise of the budget" and expresses "hope the Governor and legislature will continue to work with schools in the future.”  Hope and support are not necessarily synonyms

Allow me to offer a visual of what the administrators are saying..

With all due respect the fine administrators of Gayville-Volin and Sanborn Central along with the 111 schools of the South Dakota United Schools Association, I'm certain that they represent fewer than half of the students in the state.  Without the stats in front of me, I'm guessing they represent approximately a third.  I'm certain that a consensus is not built on faint praise from leaders representing a third of the state's students.

The post continues,

why is South Dakota being sold on a TAX INCREASE whose supposed purpose is to fill budget gaps in education. Its not right that we are being asked to pay more in taxes to solve a problem that the Governor has already addressed.
Let's be clear, I'm not sure I'm going to vote for the sales tax increase.  I'm not convinced that the legislature and Governor won't alter the funding formula so that only the sales tax revenue provided by the initiated measure funds schools.

More importantly, the sales tax is the most regressive tax imaginable, especially when food is not exempted.

I don't care if one opposes or supports the sales tax initiative, but I do care when one misrepresents the situation.


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