Yankton voters say "Adequate"

Schools need adequate funding…..but just what is adequate and who decides what adequate means —

The Yankton school board wanted an opt-out.  You’d think this year would be the best time to make the case for opt-outs.  With the state cutting funding for education by 6% certainly voters would understand schools need more money.  But the voters in Yankton said “Adequate” — current school funding is adequate….but is that enough?

The voters have spoken.

28 Replies to “Yankton voters say "Adequate"”

  1. caheidelberger

    They didn’t say “current” school funding is adequate. They said they want a lot less funding next year than this year.

    And opponents of the opt-out hired a man who wants to destroy public education to help them do it. That makes me nervous about the state of our sense of community obligation to each other and to our kids.

    1. J Rae

      So what is the message that kids and their families should take away from this vote?

      Guessing the investment that the opposition brought in from out of state paid off…at least in the short term. It’ll be interesting to see if this sentiment carries over into other districts.

    2. PNR

      Dorr’s efforts, frankly, are redundant. Public education is already destroying itself.

      In the meantime, the skies will not fall nor the earth give way simply because the people of Yankton do not wish to pay more. And whether the reduced funding available to the district impacts actual education depends less on this vote than it does on the decisions made by board and administration regarding how they will spend the money they have.

  2. The best thing for the children?

    Cutting back on PUBLIC education and assisting parents to have CHOICES is the best thing for the future of our state and our nation. There should be tax breaks for any parent who chooses to home school or use alternative education. GOOD for YANKTON opposing the BIG government opt out. Less administration. Smaller schools. Less consolidation. Less transportation costs. How about small grade schools (30-50 students) in each neighborhood that each have two classrooms–Nonreaders and readers. Every student is tested and placed in the class of his ability. Older students read to younger students and improve their reading skills. Let’s think outside the bureaucracy and the box!

  3. Here me now believe me later

    The Yankton vote results does surprise me. That is becaue Yankton tends to me more moderate in political thinking than the rest of the state. By this I mean that Yankton tends to be more more in favor of Democratic thinking that say the people of Brookings, Watertown or Spearfish. I thought the vote would be more like 55-45 in defeat of the opt out. I think the message the Yankton result sends is that the people of SD have had to tighten their belts in the last three years, so should the school district. The Democrats should stop blaming the Republicans and the Govenor about the funding of schools and start talking more about what they would do if they were power. The Republicans should say that this could be a one year problem. Who knows what the revenues will look like for next year?

  4. Hilarious

    Tripp-Delmont passed their opt-out last night. But, you focus on the one that was defeated. Because you like the narrative of people saying no to higher taxes. Jerk.

    1. PNR

      Normally one puts a hyphen in front of a signat- Oh. You’re calling Ms. Golden a jerk. Sorry. It just made more sense as a signature.

      The Tripp-Delmont vote was to continue an existing opt-out. The Yankton vote was to implement an opt-out – a difference that warrants the different treatment.

  5. Bernie Hunhoff

    People voted no in Yankton for a variety of reasons, but many did so because they just don’t think property taxes are the answer to school funding. One old farmer who rents his pasture showed me that he gets $25/acre/year in cash rent and the property taxes are $10/year. That’s a 40% gross tax. Some small retailers would have seen taxes rise $1,000 on up to $7,000 for a hardware store owner. Add that to the blue collar laborers making $10/hour and the seniors on fixed incomes and you’ve got a tough electorate. Democrats (to answer “Hear Me Now …”). We came up with a three-year plan that used some reserves, used some “sweeps” from excesses in cash flow accounts, used some of the earnings … not the principle, the earnings … off the $860 million in trust funds, implemented some selective cuts, curbed corporate welfare, etc. We could have frozen education spending until state revenues grow, as they are doing. It’s still a solid and workable plan.

    1. Anon

      Maybe voters also figure that the AVERAGE school administrator’s salary is over $65,000 (more than 96% of other workers in SD) and the AVERAGE teacker’s salary is over $37,000 (more than 75% of other workers in SD). Many of those others have had hours cut, salaries cut, or even been laid off.

    2. Here me now believe me later

      Mr. Hunhoff, the problem I have with your plan, is that your side of the aisle is lying, not very smart or giving us a plan that you know won’t work but we need one out there to look good. You know as well as I do that you so called plan Mr. Hunhoff that it is the last one. You are a smart man, still enjoy your magazine. You know that you cannot use the reserve funds for education right now. There are other things that have to happen in the capital before that money can be spent. Put forth a relable plan that CAN be done. No tricks. No smoke. No mirrors. I think you will be surprised at the result.

  6. Bernie Hunhoff

    The Dem Plan? I happen to have a copy of it in front of me right now, because I’m preparing to talk about this issue on public radio over the noon hour with my buddy, Rep. Gene Abdallah. We spoke about it at our Friday noon conferences during the legislative session, issued media releases, etc. And we didn’t copyright it — in fact, we tried to make it a bi-partisan plan rather than a Dem Plan because we figured it just might have a slightly higher chance of passing that way … and we had bi-partisan support until the powers-that-be dropped the hammer on it.

    1. Dem Plan

      Bernie – Will you please post the plan on a website somewhere? I would like to see the dollar amounts you have worked up. Thanks!

    2. El Toro Loco Grande "The Big Crazy Bull"

      Rep. Hunhoff, very curious… when you say you had bipartisian support for your “plan,” what “Republican” legislators are you speaking of? Are you claiming a legislative/executive consensus on your “plan” was broken up by GOP leadership? Pray tell, who supported your plan? Voters have a right to know who supported it, and also who left you hanging after they said they supported your “plan” and then abandoned it after getting the “hammer.”

      I was under the impression though that the legislature works off of bill proposals that go through committees and are voted on. If your “plan” was never constituted in such a fashion, how were you ever going to get it co-sponsored with actual bipartisan support and passed into law?

  7. Lee Schoenbeck

    Bernie — your friend that is getting ripped off on his pasture rent needs help. There are a lof of good lawyers in Yankton – send him to one of them. I could suggest my wife’s cousin :), but there are many good ones.

  8. Bernie Hunhoff

    Lee, this fellow may need a lawyer for other reasons, but I’m not sure he’s getting ripped off too badly on the rent. The last studies I saw (we’ve been reviewing rents in taxation committee because of the move to production-based property taxes) showed a range of $12 in West River to $40 in the Big Sioux River valley. In Yankton County, I think it was around $30 or so — but it varies depending on water availability, grass quality, who handles the weeds and fencing expenses, etc. So he’s probably on the low end, but not off the charts for our area. However, with cattle prices where they are today it seems all cash pasture rents are probably low.

  9. Name

    I think I will double my pasture rent and move so I do not have to pay taxes on groceries/clothing etc.
    Then that would be a raise so I could support education. Then someone would not be happy to see food prices go up so they have to pay more taxes so education could get more. Then the gov would want a raise so we could raise taxes…………. WHo is wrong or maybe who is correct.
    The personal agenda keeps getting in the way……………

    1. Anon

      Don’t move to MN. They may not charge a sales tax on food and clothes, but the poorest 20% of the population pay more in state and local taxes and fees than in SD. Used to be 10.5% of one’s income in MN to 10% in SD.

  10. Troy Jones

    This is the beauty of having the people making the decisions at the lowest level.

    In Tripp, the locals looked at the “needs” and “wants” of the school district and decided they would pay for them through higher taxes.

    In Yankton, they said they wouldn’t pay for them.

    Whether it be the state or federal government, when there is an effort to have one-size fits all solutions, local specific input disappears.

    Maybe Bernie likes the idea of using gimmicks and short-term fixes to keep education spending where it was but it appears the people of Yankton don’t think the spending is worth paying for with their own money. Why should I pay for it with mine?

  11. Name

    Troy, the state constitution says the state of SD must provide a uniform and equitable education to all …. That does not seem to allow for disparate levels of education quality around the state, and if we revert to locally funded schools rather than a statewide formula then the courts are likely ton step in, as in other states, and demand some uniformity for the kids. So it is not gimmicks and tricks I want, but a uniform and equitable statewide formula. We no longer have one.

  12. Bernie Hunhoff

    Sorry, I forgot to put my name on the above post. And I want to correct my reference to the constitution. It demands a “general and uniform system of public schools … equally open to all” and it demans that the STATE adopt adopt all suitable means to secure to the people the advantages and opportunities of education — it doesn’t say that the state can leave it up to the local school district votes whether or not they want to fund the schools. And remember, the constitution was written in a day when a fifth grade education was probably enough to get by — I wonder what our visionary founding fathers would say today about education?

  13. Troy Jones Post author

    Bernie, until you have the state take away all local control, either mandate all schools have the same levels for things like Advanced Placement classes (either by mandating them or prohibiting them), Latin in every school or in no schools, or artificial turf on every football field or on none, strict uniformity is impossible. Because the Constitution allows local control and discretionary partial local funding, strict uniformity is not required by the Constitution but something to closer to meeting the minimum requirements as defined by the state.

    Furthermore, the lawsuit by the schools has already been defeated so the claim we are violating the Constitution by the state aid reduction or mandating voters approve opt outs to satisfy a strict uniformity interpretation of the Constitution is a canard.

    Argue for more state aid or more spending and/or less local control but waiving the Constitution doesn’t work for me.

    Now that I’ve “beaten” up your argument, I heard a rumor Chris and Betsy had another baby. If I remember right from my wife, another girl? Congrats Grandpa!

  14. El Toro Loco Grande "The Big Crazy Bull"

    Rep. Hunhoff,
    I realize that you get away all the time with making outraguous statements without the press asking for proof; however, you have been respectfully asked to back up your claims above.

    “when you say you had bipartisian support for your ?plan,? what ?Republican? legislators are you speaking of? Are you claiming a legislative/executive consensus on your ?plan? was broken up by GOP leadership? Pray tell, who supported your plan? Voters have a right to know who supported it, and also who left you hanging after they said they supported your ?plan? and then abandoned it after getting the ?hammer.?

    I was under the impression though that the legislature works off of bill proposals that go through committees and are voted on. If your ?plan? was never constituted in such a fashion, how were you ever going to get it co-sponsored with actual bipartisan support and passed into law?”

  15. El Toro Loco Grande "The Big Crazy Bull"

    Hmmmm, always looking for the lime light; however, runs from the spotlight? This is the problem in America, when politicians make such outrageous claims, where is the media to hold them accountable? Are we so jaded from such dishonest statements from charlatan public servants, that we accept these iillogical outlandish claims without challenge?

    Waiving a very large BS flag here Rep. Hunhoff. Your rapid departure from the debate field, in front of such questions, speaks volumns…