Brookings School Board votes to approve sending MASSIVE 675% property tax increase to voters on April 10th

Good gosh.  The Brookings School Board voted last night to increase property taxes on the school’s property tax levy from 34 cents per $1,000 in valuation to $2.295 per $1,000. An increase of literally $1.955 per thousand or a 675% increase:

Brookings voters will get to decide on April 10 the fate of a $5.1 million annual opt out that would last for 10 years.

The opt out was approved by the Brookings School Board Monday night on a 4-1 vote after considering several different options that would have put the opt out amount at different totals and fund different levels of district priorities.

As Brookings Superintendent Klint Willert put it in describing the district’s situation, the challenge is closing the gap between limited resources and the needs and wants of students, staff and the district.


Option 3.1 is a variation of No. 3 that puts a heavier emphasis on reducing class sizes and providing staff development enhancements. That opt out would come to $5,060,118.

The main difference between this and the third option, as pointed out by Willert, is “the 20 students per core classroom, which would add a total of 32 staff members to the district, 32 FTEs. Again, this is an anticipated number, a projected number based on current enrollments.”

This would increase the tax levy from 34 cents per $1,000 in valuation to $2.295 per $1,000.


The vote to put the $5.1 million annual opt out on the April 10 ballot was approved by the board 4-1, with Fishback voting against.

Read it here.

I’m betting that’s not going to go well.

14 Replies to “Brookings School Board votes to approve sending MASSIVE 675% property tax increase to voters on April 10th”

  1. William Beal

    “the challenge is closing the gap between limited resources and the needs and wants”

    I suspect the taxpayers will not support funding the level of “wants” the school board desires.

      1. Bill B

        Most school staff in SD want what is best for the children. So if they want to improve education, I think that’s great. As far as the number they are asking for, I think they might be asking for too much. Divide this number by 4 would be more reasonable.

        1. KM

          I agree Bill B, most people do want what’s best for students. Can you help justify how spending more per student improves their grades or IQ scores? I’m still looking for statistics (really any study) that indicates: more $$ = smarter students. One thing that is noticeable – lower the standards/expectations and students look as though they are successful and the school gets a shiny star for academic achievement.

          1. Bill B

            Reducing class size and offering more 1 on 1 attention can improve learning. Now what is the perfect class size? 20-25 students seems reasonable. Also hiring the best teachers has proven to improve learning. Most teachers I talk to don’t teach for the money. It would be nice if the best teachers wouldn’t have to deal with administration, state, and federal mandates that waste their educational time and money. How much money and time is wasted on those state and federal tests each year?

            1. KM

              A great solution for reducing class size: home school or private school, studies prove this to be true. I agree, teachers generally teach for the love of it. Wonder why many complain about pay raises? This also helps blow out the gender pay gap nonsense, women make career choices for different reasons than men.

              It’d be nice if bad teachers could be fired so the best teachers could be hired. Lots of wasted time in the classroom and not just because of mandates: behavioral issues, basic hygiene and getting past language barriers. Many ways to solve issues in the classroom other than taxing residents and fingers-crossed the extra money improves scores.

              1. KM

                Instead of discussing what happens inside public schools, you’d prefer to talk about taxation on residents? Can you predict what happens to a city when taxes are slowly but surely increased? Not many business deals are being proposed. And, current owners have a tendency to relocate to places with, you guessed it… lower taxes. Why is it that lawmakers won’t credit ppl who invoke their school choice right and home school? Their children are of very minimal burden on public schools, hmmm…

  2. duggersd

    If this goes like it did in Sioux Falls, it will go down to defeat. Then a more “common sense” approach of about 1/2 will go before the voters and that will seem reasonable and pass.

  3. mhs

    Think the release is poorly written and mislead you on the math, besides, mils are confusing. What it likely means is a .34 mil increase on the lowest mil class (Ag land) to the 2.25 mil increase on the highest mil class (commercial property). Homes are in between. Opt outs are done on a percent-of-levy basis.

    Look up the Districts profile on Dept of Ed website. General Ag levy is 1.718, so will increase to 2.048. Commercial is 8.360.

    Then, add the other levies like sp ed., capital outlay, etc to get the gross levy per class.

    Still a hefty increase at 19% but nowhere like 675%

  4. Anonymous

    Ryan Brunner leaves brookings for Pierre and the liberals don’t have any opposition anymore. Brunner is missed on the city council but appreciated in the public lands office.