Revolving door for Board Regents Executive Directors has apparently come with a high price tag.

KELOland has a story this afternoon that there has been a high price tag for the South Dakota Board of Regents buying out their 2 previous Executive Directors’ contracts:

Rush, whose departure was announced in April 2018, received six months of severance pay totaling $168,037. His last annual contract was for $378,815 and was to run through June 21, 2018. He returned to Idaho.

Beran, whose departure was announced in March 2020, received six months of severance totaling $169,125. His last annual contract was for $338,250 and was to run through June 21, 2020. He returned to Arkansas.

Read the entire story here.

Over the years, due to their autonomy, the Board of Regents have earned the regental system a nickname that they are the “4th branch of government.” Yet, it is said that South Dakota has one of the highest costs for education in the region, it seems at times that the universities are liberal social engineering laboratories run amok, and we hear of things like this.

There have been overtures by the Legislature and the Governor to improve the situation… but should there be more drastic steps?  Should the Regental system go to a single university system and/or be put under the Department of Ed?

What are your thoughts?

13 thoughts on “Revolving door for Board Regents Executive Directors has apparently come with a high price tag.”

  1. Those salaries are ridiculous compared to what our elected officials and the Gov cabinet make….The Governor last I checked was only 120,000.00

  2. Placing the universities under the Dept. of Ed. is effectively placing them under the Governor’s direct control. If the Regental system is political now, it would become even more so under an Executive Branch that potentially changes hands every four or eight years.

    Moreover, how would such a move affect the Legislature’s influence over the universities’ budgets? Personally, I don’t know the details, but I can only assume that higher ed would become even more “in play” during last-minute negotiations over the general fund bill at the end of each Legislative session.

    If I were Brian Maher (or his successor), I’d demand a far larger severance package than the previous two EDs received. A huge severance *might* slow the Regents’ desire to make quick changes. On the other hand, if they really did make two catastrophically bad selections in a row, even a huge severance would be cheap in comparison to what a bad executive could cost the state in terms of costly decisions and missed opportunities.

  3. $350 K a year? Letting your universities become neo-Marxist political organizations on your watch must be tough work!

    Instead of DoE control, how about we get a BOR led by reformers who understand wokism and have the grit to address the problem? Is that too much to ask for?

  4. The current Board is the most conservative I can ever remember. If they focus on reducing tuition and not get bullied by the colleges and faculty, they’ll be just fine.

  5. Dr Maher is solid, even if his kid played for the Cowboys and not the Vikings

    He’s the first BoR head in decades that knew where SD was before he got his first paycheck, and he had a good track record in Sioux Falls

  6. Prior to Maher, and for a long time, it was clear the Universities were the worst managed segment of any government in the state (DSU and maybe SM&T excepted). And such incompetence has now showed up in an extremely inferior product not worth the cost. Graduates who get a good education from our Universities do so in spite of and not because of the University. Most of the denigration of the product is due to the professors belief their job is to indoctrinate vs. nurturing cognitive flexibility and making students subject area experts.

    Additionally, there are indications Covid may have accelerated fundamental changes in both the educational delivery modes and the expectations of students which render the existing University structure obsolete.

    Maher and the Board of Regents have a Herculean task in front of them which can not be fixed overnight. Whether they are up to it or not will only be known looking back in ten years.

    1. Correction: “it was clear the Universities were the worst MISmanaged segment of any government in the state”

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