Has anyone counted heads in the Senate on the Education Tax Bill

Most of the state’s attention has been directed at the goings on in the House over education funding… But what kind of reception does the bill face in the Senate?

In speaking with one Senator this morning, they weren’t entirely convinced that the tax plan has enough of a cushion to ensure passage, and a group of conservatives might find some momentum to offer an alternative plan without new taxes & block the plan as was attempted in the House.

Time to start counting heads. Things could be as contentious in the Senate as they were in the House.

32 thoughts on “Has anyone counted heads in the Senate on the Education Tax Bill”

  1. Taking funds from other places will result in hard feelings, too. Not exactly the best way to garner support for education.

  2. So taking funds from hardworking taxpayers is the best way to garner support for education, especially with the tactics that the pro bill lobby used? I think not. People should at least have the ability to see another plan and decide on which would be better. And especially since evidently these plans were written before the results of the Blue Ribbon task force were even in; this was a done deal, with the task force being used to give the impression that they really wanted voter input. I attended one of those meetings, and it was structured to end up with the bills now proposed.

    1. Why did they wait so many years to propose their plan? Just goes to show they had no intention of fixing the problem until they are forced to. Shallow leadership on display.

  3. Evidently the governor was talking to the Chamber of Commerce and was asked about the state development fund. As cited from http://sibbyonline.blogs.com

    “Daugaard said the fund does not have a dedicated funding source, but is funded whenever the state has a budget surplus. He added that the state has had a budget surplus every year that he has been governor. And it’s my intent to continue that pattern. I do believe there is plenty of money in the Building South Dakota program right now. In fact, we’ve got more cash in reserves for the funding needs this year and next year than we need in most programs. The state has adopted very conservative budget estimates — and every year, actual revenues come in a little bit better than expected. So the argument that there is no money in the existing budget to fund a teacher pay raise is a lie. Not only does Daugaard promote more sales tax on the working poor, he promises sales tax exemptions for crony capitalists…. Daugaard also described another of the tools state government has to encourage business investment, the Revolving Economic Development and Initiative fund. The REDI fund’s board can attract new businesses to the state, and also encourage businesses in the state to expand, in part by forgiving some or all of the sales tax they would have to pay.”

    So there is a budget surplus which is increasing every year. Maybe it’s time to look at that instead of another tax. .

  4. Was assured by numerous sources in the Senate that they pass it a lot easier than the House did.

  5. People have been waiting 20 years to see a plan…..and now they want to do something when threatened with a new tax? Just goes to show they had no intention of fixing the problem until they are forced to. That isn’t leadership.

    1. I certainly agree with you Daniel that a plan to increase teacher salaries was not high on the priority list. I also would have like to see a plan that used existing funds earlier if those legislators were serious about the issue before they felt backed into a corner.

  6. After seeing a posting about teachers work only 175 days a year, I checked my local district calendar. They work 178 days a year. If those are 8 hour days, 8-4:30 with 30 minutes for lunch, that’s 1424 hours a year. Full time jobs are over 2000 hours a year. And We all need to stop sharing that ivory tower delusion teachers are under that nobody else takes work home with them or puts in extra time at the office after hours. Everybody does that. Everybody.
    So if they are making $41,000 a year for a part time job, they are making $28.79/ hour plus a benefit package most of us can’t imagine even in our wildest dreams.

    And what do we get for that? Well we get public tantrums about how they hate their jobs but they can’t quit, because they’re slaves.
    We get college freshmen who need remedial math.
    We get kids who can’t figure out how many quarters are in a ten dollar roll, who can’t make change.
    We get high school graduates who have never read the original founding documents of our country, and have no idea what they say. They actually think our rights come from government, not God. They are completely unaware of the lessons of history, and one young woman asked me to explain how I knew that 1500 BCE was 3500 years ago.

    We have graduates who can’t use the words “lie” or “lay” correctly, don’t comprehend the subjunctive tense, confuse subjective and objective pronouns, and can’t spell.
    We have high school graduates living among us whose knowledge of science is so deficient that they don’t understand that correlation and causation are not the same thing. So they turn into anti-vaxxers and believe this “CO2 causes global warming” theory is proven fact.

    If teachers want to make more money maybe they should earn it? Just a thought!

    1. Your assessment of the hours teachers work is not accurate. I don’t know many teachers who just work 40 hours a week. Many work additional nights and weekends to plan their lessons, grade papers, and prepare assessments. Teachers are also at work before and after the school year begins and ends. Another part of your statement that is not accurate is that all professionals work more than 40 hours a week is not accurate. I know many professionals (bankers, computer programmers, financial services, and others) who are very competent but clock in at 8 and clock out at 5 and take no work home any evening or over the weekend. There are some others like accountants who work very long hours during tax season and then take the summer off so their work schedule balances out. I’m also guessing those accountants are making 10s of thousands more than teachers. I make these points because I don’t see your characterizations as accurate or fair to teachers and other professional as well.

      I certainly think teachers need to be held accountable and be required to stay up to date with professional development and best practices in teaching. The teachers who are doing the bare minimum and not seeing the results from their students need to be given a plan to improve. If the improvement is not made by the teacher, he or she should be looking for a new profession just like anywhere else in the professional workplace.

      Increasing teacher salaries is about ensuring the future generation of workers will be competitive in a global economy. The state is having problems retaining and recruiting well qualified teachers because salaries are not competitive with the surrounding states. Retaining talented teachers will influence how graduates will be competitive in the workforce and in post-secondary education. Talented, well qualified teachers are going are part of the solution to reducing the need for some college students taking remedial classes as well. The other parts of the solution I suspect involve curriculum, students studying material outside of school, emotional well being of the student, and additional factors too. If every child had two parents at home, an emotionally stable environment, and a good work ethic, many of these issues would be solved. Not everyone is so fortunate.

      If you know a sure fire way to fix the problems of every student and their level of academic knowledge, please start a consulting company or run for office and solve the issue once and for all. I know if you came up with the answer and were able to successfully implement the solution you could make a lot of money.

      Increasing teachers salaries to remain competitive in the job market for well qualified teachers is part of the solution though. 71% of the public agrees. This number includes conservatives like me who generally don’t like or support tax increases.

      See this link for the polling data I referenced – http://kelo.com/news/articles/2016/jan/22/poll-tax-hike-for-teachers-very-popular/

      1. I have never believed that throwing money at a problem will fix it, and I am surprised that as a self-proclaimed conservative, that you would believe that.

        Lets go back to high school statistics class and the good old bell curve. As you know a certain percentage of a group, in this case teachers, will be in the upper level (excellent teachers), the big percentage will be in the middle levels (fair to medium to good teachers) and a certain percentage will be in the lowest group (rotten teachers).

        Now just throwing a pile of cash to all teachers is not the way to improve scores of students. The rotten teachers will be rewarded for rotten performance and the middle group will not see any incentive to improve because they are being rewarded for being mediocre. The excellent teachers will see all the slugs being rewarded for poor performance and only the exceptional ones will continue being excellent. Most will degrade to mediocrity.

        I am told that teachers and unions detest merit pay/raises. But until school boards are given the latitude to pay for performance the education system will be weak.

        I look at the money spent per student in SD and the Midwest and compare to the money spent per student in DC, New York and other blue states and see that more money doesn’t always mean better educated students.

        I hope the Senate votes the bill down but don’t hold much hope for that.

        1. If a business is having trouble recruiting well qualified applicants for open positions they have then the business raises the salary to encourage people to apply.

          The bell curve certainly exists in any field but does it does not completely inform the decision making process nor provide all the relevant information. Any college college level and masters level business statistics teaches this principle.

          It sounds like you and I agree that teachers should be held accountable. I referenced the need to hold struggling teachers accountable and provide plans and opportunities for struggling teachers to improve. Improving these teachers will help increase the base skillset for the entire bell curve. See my previous post at 1:45pm.

          Raising the salary gets more qualified candidates applying because the economic incentive is greater but it also increases the base knowledge set the applicants bring to the table. Increasing the base knowledge and skill level means that schools will be able to retain well qualified teachers in state instead of having them leave the state or profession and use their skill set where they are better paid. Increasing the base level of knowledge and skills of teachers is good for students.

          More money doesn’t always translate to better results, but if the problem is not getting enough applicants applying for open positions or losing well qualified teachers because of low teacher salaries compared to surrounding states (competitors in the education), higher salaries is certainly something that businesses do to help solve the same issue. Will money solve the entire problem? No one claimed that it would. I would refer you to my post at 1:45 pm for other considerations that need to be made.

          South Dakota has a great education system when comparatively looking at test scores from other states, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges the system faces or that every aspect is perfect. There is room for improvement too. The best teachers would even agree with that.

          The teacher shortage challenge needs to be addressed for the future state workforce to remain competitive. Legislators saw this when they passed work force development legislation to encourage post secondary education and training (colleges, universities, and tech school). Thankfully legislators also have seen the in the House that it is time to address K-12 in this equation. This is needed to compete in the current and future global economy to attract highly skilled workers to come to South Dakota. Those highly skilled workers also understand their children need a good k-12 and post secondary education to compete in the global market place.

          1. If Brown County and/or Lake County want to hire qualified teachers, why not let the local folks determine how much they want to offer?

            State aid to school districts should not be the determining factor as to the salary in each district. Let the local taxpayers determine the going rate. If they want quality teachers, let them fund their programs.

            And let the local board get rid of poor teachers who are “tenured”. I know there is no official “tenure” program in SD but really there is.

        2. One more point, some legislators who opposed the tax have even said that nearly every legislator agrees more money needs to go to teacher salaries but the disagreement if over where to find the money. That statement (taken at face value) says the opponents accept that there is a shortage of well qualified applicants for teaching positions and salaries play a significant role in the discussion.

          1. Anonymous at 3:33 and 3:40… As I’ve noted elsewhere, the shortage of math and science teachers is nationwide. More pay won’t change that — the applicant pool is nonexistent. Also, teacher retention — like retention in the private economy — is largely affected by workplace environment, of which pay is one of many factors. What happens five or 10 years down the road, and teacher numbers stubbornly don’t change?

            For the record, I’m not advocating against more pay, just how it’s being financed and sold politically. Bottom line: All of the extra cash for teacher pay is already in the system, but has been directed to administration, especially in smaller districts. If the state won’t require sharing superintendents and principals, school boards won’t budge on their own. So stalemate.

            Personally, no amount of money could lure me to return to teaching, for the same reason I was allergic to large corporations — I couldn’t abide the petty rules, for the most part. I admire those who can keep their eyes on the prize and thrive in such environments, such as Mr. Dugger. That takes toughness I never had.

            Somehow I found my place in the world in retail. I love the test of the marketplace. But every year it gets harder to make a profit, because I have to buy so much receipt tape. (That last sentence is a joke. I do make a 3 percent profit — which is pretty good in the rag trade — and it’s entirely because of great customers.)

      2. Got an elementary school teacher in the family, 3rd grade. Her husband quit his job to go to boat building school. They have a house on Cape Cod, a big sailboat they take out on the weekends, and every year they vacation in Europe and buy season tickets to the Patriots.
        She has more free time than any working person I know. Since she lives in Massachusetts, I have no idea what her salary is. It must be generous. Maybe unhappy South Dakotans should move.

        I never went to a legislative forum, convention, or visited the state house until I retired. I didn’t have time. Now that I’ve done those things and see how the teachers manage to show up at everything in large numbers, the only conclusion I can arrive at is:
        Teachers have way too much time on their hands. Way too much.

    2. I really have not heard a lot of teachers saying they would quit if they could. I do remember seeing several teachers quit the profession and go into another because they could get a nice increase in salary even though they worked year-round for that new job. They had a lot less hassle.
      One of the points you are making is a good one, however. That has to do with high school graduates who cannot do certain things. I believe a lot of that has to do with schools being encouraged to graduate students rather than educate them. There are incentives for getting students graduated. There are not incentives to educate them. So, rather than fail them, they are moved on.
      This is not just a product of incentives from government. Parents also get rather annoyed when they are told little Johnny is flunking his class because he does not want to do the work in order to pass. Just today, I made a special trip to work with a student after school who did not bother to show up. In that same classroom that I share with another teacher, I heard a girl talk about flunking the class, but not really working to do what she needed to pass. I happen to know this girl has the intelligence to ace that class.
      Until a diploma means something again, we are going to continue to have this problem. You get what you pay for and you get what you want. The problems are systemic. We have a safety net for people who cannot compete in the world of work, so they don’t care if they have the kind of education they need to be able to compete.
      This is not to say that the schools in SD do not offer a good education. They do. But students have to be willing to get that education. I have had the pleasure and honor of working with many students who kept me in awe of their abilities to reason and think.
      BTW, I don’t know anyone outside of English teachers who can tell you the difference between “lay” and “lie” ;-). And I don’t know very many people who care about what a subjunctive tense is. And they cannot spell because they don’t care about it. That has a lot to do with texting!

    3. You should really educate yourself, maybe go back to school for a bit, before you suggest something as silly as your above math equation on hours worked vs. pay received. Have you visited with any teachers? Any at all? I’m highly suspect.

  7. Even if you had a solution to fix 75% of the academic knowledge concerns you have would be wildly successful.

  8. Most high school kids can’t figure sales taxes, so until they can, no teacher raise. Let alone to try and figure this new .05 tax increase, It’s going to through these kids for loop on how its figured on a bill.

    But then again most teachers are shopping online where there is no sales tax, so no need to teach such basic math.

    1. Ha!!!

      Ask anyone to count change back. You will find, for the most part, only seasoned citizens can do it.

    2. I love how people critical of math skills have their own problems with word choice and spelling. “It’s going to “through” these kids…)? Maybe use “throw” instead.

  9. In order to give teachers a pay raise? We have to give every other South Dakotan a pay cut.

    How about starting out with finding our core infrastructure needs first? Then what’s leftover can go to the crony capitalism programs the RINOs want?

    How many tax and fee increases will these RINOs pass in the last 17 months?!

    1. Well, past and future increases from the non-conservatives in this session, are among the biggest ever in SD.

  10. I used to sell nuts and bolts and keys to hardware stores. There was one store in Sioux Falls that paid its employees more than what most hardware stores paid their employees. The people at that store knew their stuff and I did not see a new person every time I came in to make a call. There was another store that did not pay so well and had new people all of the time ( I believe they are doing better today). The difference in quality of help was very noticeable.
    Part of the reason why many in SD want to see salaries for teachers to increase is to attract people who are more qualified. I happen to work in a larger district that does pay more than many others. What I have noticed is many of the teachers in my district have come from smaller schools in the area. Often times positions in smaller school districts have to wait for the leftovers. The teachers who are good will look for greener pastures.

    1. Other difficulties: If teachers are married, often a small town doesn’t have a job waiting for the spouse. And if both are teaching, then it’s even more difficult as the right opening may not exist in that school district.

      Also, the smaller schools expect everyone to coach. Back in the day, I was told I had to coach the girls JV basketball. Not my forte, but tried to teach them skills and the motion offense and the pick and roll. They won the state title a couple years after I’d moved on. Not one sent me a thank you. (I kid.)

      1. Cliff were you teaching the Northern Shuffle? Ran right it cannot be stopped and someone will always end up open for an open shot with constant picks high and low.

        1. Charlie, yes! That’s it!

          And Mr. Dugger, your students are winning with you in front of the class. Keep fighting the good fight.

  11. Some schools look for an applicant as a coach first and then hope they can teach something. Priorities kind of backwards IMO.

    1. Yes, but such is life, no? Reminds me of another little noted statistic, that men long have been a minority in K-12 — male teachers are 19 percent in elementaries and middle schools, and 43 percent in the high schools. That skews recruitment and retention.

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