Rapid City School Board members think rejecting state and federal funds will keep immigrants out. That’s not going to end well.

So, the Rapid City Journal is reporting that some of the Rapid City School Board members think that by rejecting state and federal funds, they somehow have the ability to keep immigrants out of their school district.

And even better. They don’t want none of that state and federal money:

Board Representative and 1st Vice President Gabe Doney responded via email to tell Meyer that by accepting the grant, RCAS was implicitly giving the green light for more immigrants to move to Rapid City. He expressed similar sentiments to the Journal, saying that accepting a federal grant pertaining to immigration “could create a bigger problem down the road.”

“Next year is it going to be 100 [students], or 300? Do we really want that in Rapid City? $30,000 could turn into $1 million,” Doney told the Journal.


Meyer also heard back from Area 2 Representative Jim Hansen, who told Meyer he voted against the grant because he does not want there to be “federal and state ties to our school district.”

Read that all here.

Couple of items here.

If someone could figure out how to cut federal and state ties to a South Dakota school district, I’m sure the state would LOVE to not have to provide the money they spend out of the state budget on it. But, it might cheese off the local taxpayers though. Especially when they see their property tax bill double, because they still have to educate children.

Then there’s the part about educating those darned immigrants. Who says they have to? Well, those pesky meddlers at the US Department of Justice:

English learner (EL) students constitute nine percent of all public school students and are enrolled in nearly three out of every four public schools. Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI) and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 (EEOA), public schools must ensure that EL students can participate meaningfully and equally in educational programs.

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) have issued joint guidance to remind state education agencies (SEAs), public school districts, and public schools of their legal obligation to ensure that EL students can participate meaningfully and equally in educational programs.


School districts must have procedures in place to accurately and timely identify potential EL students. Most school districts use a home language survey at the time of enrollment to gather information about a student’s language background and identify students whose primary or home language is other than English.

School districts must then determine if potential EL students are in fact EL through a valid and reliable test that assesses English language proficiency in speaking, listening, reading and writing.

Read that federal guidance here.

Well what happens if they don’t want to follow those darned federal laws and do all that stuff they’re obligated to?

Well, then parents can file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights, because education is actually a civil right.

If parents have questions, want additional information, or believe that a school is violating federal law:

You may visit the website of ED’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at www.ed.gov/ocr or contact OCR at (800) 421-3481 (TDD: 800-877-8339) or at [email protected]. For more information about filing a complaint, visit www.ed.gov/ocr/complaintintro.html.

You may visit DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, Educational Opportunities Section, website at www.justice.gov/crt/about/edu/ or contact DOJ (877) 292-3804 or [email protected]. For more information about filing a complaint, visit www.justice.gov/crt/complaint/#three.

For more information about school districts’ obligations to English learner students and limited English proficient parents, additional OCR guidance is available at http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/ellresources.html.

Same link, btw.

And that usually doesn’t end up well for the school district.

If anything does come off the entertaining school board meetings in Rapid City, I’d bet we see legislation this next session to allow the recall of school board members.

Because it’s sounding like there’s some buyer’s remorse lately.

32 thoughts on “Rapid City School Board members think rejecting state and federal funds will keep immigrants out. That’s not going to end well.”

  1. 5 of the 7 need to go. Their idiocy is going to put their tax base into the hole for decades with needlessly incurred legal penalties, gut their teaching staff, and run the district so far into the ground the city will start dropping in population as families move elsewhere.

    Don’t forget it was the SDGOP who helped put these clowns there in the first place and this was an entirely predictable outcome.

    1. Pretty sure the SDGOP didn’t have anything to do with them.

      I was asked to do a piece for one of them by a couple of supporters, and after I found out who was involved behind the scenes, I took a hard pass.

      1. Really? Then why was that slate of yahoo’s getting money from SDGOP district and city candidate campaign funds? Why was the FHA, which gets ample space on this blog, endorsing them and shelling out the big bucks to get them into office?

        The SDGOP is responsible for the whole tent, not just the parts they decide makes us look good. This after-the-fact buyers remorse is a load of hogwash. Didn’t see you warning about this lunacy on the campaign trail, so spare us the Johnny-come-lately “I was helping behind the scenes” routine.

        1. Anon 10:11 hit the nail on the head.

          You seem to be low on information here, confusing and conflating a lot of very, very different organizations and lumping them all together.

          1. Very different?

            They share membership.
            They have the same people on their financial disclosure forms.
            They share policy platforms.

            There is a cancer in the party those at the top refuse to excise because they don’t want to lose votes. And if they have to sacrifice the second largest school district in the state to avoid upsetting their own fringe their stance is “so be it.”

      2. I think GOP is a vague term in South Dakota, especially out west. You have everything from the wingnuts to Adelstein, I’m not sure where the “SDGOP” you represent fits in on the spectrum, or if it is an umbrella for all of them.

  2. Can they legally recall these school board members?

    How many watched the videos of their school board meetings? It’s like a nutjob conspiracy theory convention with Phil Jensen (Shape of Human Skulls show origin of where they came from or some crazy idea) was a speaker.

    The Black Hills are beautiful but there is something that attracts a large concentration of crazies to move there from all over the country and within South Dakota.

    1. There is nothing in statute or in the state’s constitution regarding recall of school board members. There should be. A few years ago there was a bill that was brought forth in the SD Legislature regarding this very subject. It obviously didn’t fare well. However, this may be brought forward again, as it should. Since every elected official should be subject to recall, no matter what position.

  3. This is what you get when you elect a handful of Looney Toons who can only manage to burp out, at varying levels of loudness, the letters C, R, and T.

  4. We can rag on the school board all we want but if you check the rankings of your local school district you might notice something: as your diversity rank goes up, your academic rank falls. The more kids who come from homes where the parents don’t speak English, the more the test scores drop. And as your school’s overall rank falls, your property values fall, and the schools struggle with funding for ESL teachers. Fewer ESL teachers= lower student test scores=lower ranking schools=falling property values= falling real estate taxes=less school funding=fewer ESL teachers.

    We live in the Flandreau school district, and my husband was looking at a nearby real estate listing comparable to our own property, it included a link to the ratings of the Flandreau district. Why any realtor would include a link to such bad news in a listing is the first question, the next question is “why would anybody want to buy a house in that school district?” Well there are always empty-nesters and homeschoolers, but a lot of prospective buyers would stop right there.
    If and when we ever put our acreage up for sale we will stress its proximity to the Brookings school district.

    You can promote a utopia in which everything is unicorns and rainbows or you can deal with real problems. And one of those problems is how to educate children whose parents don’t speak English.

    1. You fund education and support immigrants. You don’t tell brown people to go back to their $hithole countries. If we have failing schools because we need immigrants to come here and work our tourist traps and perform our undesirable jobs and we are unable to properly educate them, then that is our problem to fix.

      1. If we didn’t have completely open borders thanks to the senile old Democrat elected by unintelligent people we wouldn’t have such an influx. If the Socialists didn’t make it a point of buying votes through the never-ending stream of welfare which pays people not to work, people would have to take jobs that they deem “beneath” them (much like cousin Eddy). If the teachers unions didn’t have unfettered power to promote useless, anti-American garbage in public schools, the education system would be better.

        Seems all the problems are due to Democrat/Socialist/Liberal stupidity.

        1. What open borders? You guys sit here and act like we aren’t bringing them here and we have an open door to walk in. A majority of illegals come on work and student visa’s, they aren’t running across the border. Guess how many Trump brings in to work at his resorts? Guess who is pulling the weeds in all your fields and cleaning the houses of the wealthy? Yep, all the problems in SD are caused by Democrats. This is the sort of delirious nonsense that is going to destroy the Republican party.

          1. “What open borders? You guys sit here and act like we aren’t bringing them here and we have an open door to walk in.”

            So your telling us that the 200K+ of illegals that came across the border in July are all coming here on work visas? Get a clue Sherlock.

            1. 200k encounters, not those coming in and staying undetected. Those are the ones we are catching and detaining and sending back. A majority of those who make it through and end up in our society undetected are coming in on Visa’s. Again, how does 200k encounters indicate we have an open border? That is basically saying we have a closed border that is stopping these people and it is doing a pretty good job. It’s no surprise that attempted crossings have increased since April of 2020 when Covid hit. It will peak during the summer months. Don’t worry Mr Higgins, I use actual facts and not the obvious fundraising attempts Republicans use the border for every time a Dem is in charge. Illegals aren’t suppressing wages. Your rich masters importing cheap labor are. Your 401k supports it as well.

  5. I agree with Pat in that, the SDGOP had nothing to do with the debacle with the Rapid City School District Board of Education and its lunatic fringe (event if they could have done something it would have fallen on deaf ears). That said, the Pennington County GOP and more so Citizens for Liberty, Concerned Women of America and other ultra-right wingnuts did play a major role in getting these yahoos elected, in addition to the Family Heritage Alliance.

    Regarding the comments concerning educating children who don’t speak English. This is not a huge problem in South Dakota, particularly west river. East river, this was a slight issue in the Huron area for a short period and the school district there did a great job of helping students and families. Comments like those from some of the Rapid City school board members as well as a few on this blog post wreak of bigotry and downright ignorance. Legal immigrants have always played an important role in our country’s exceptionalism. They help us understand that we are not a singular, homogeneous nation made of up of all like-minded people (as much as both the ultra right and ultra left would like us to be!).

    Lastly, South Dakota’s local elections turnout (school board and city) have historically been very low for decades. Yet many still don’t get the fact that it is your locally elected officials who make the decisions regarding how high your property taxes, fees, etc. will be. Not the goofballs in DC or even Pierre (for the most part). Just like anything else, the electorate seems to take a long nap when things are going somewhat smoothly until something big (like mask mandates or rising taxes) gets their attention. In the meantime, numbskulls will continue to get elected unless the populous becomes way more involved in the democratic process. This is anything but new – we’ve been at it for nearly 250 years.

    1. Continually lumping the Pennington County GOP in with the wingnut factions is fun for you I’m sure but it’s not accurate.

      1. Brad, I never said that the Pennington County GOP was a “wingnut faction”. I just listed them as part of those who strongly supported many of these current board members. Although, you must agree, that there is a continued “wingnut” presence in the Pennington County GOP. However, this seems to have been waning over the past couple of years.

    2. Pennington County GOP = SDGOP

      They’re one and the same. Poop rolls uphill in this case I guess.

      1. Equating two large groups whose members carry a wider range of opinions as opposed to a selection of smaller vocal activist groups, helps my case more than your case.

  6. If school board elections were held on the November ballot, we’d have 60% of the voters making these decisions instead of 10% or 20%.

  7. Surely we all are aware of strings attached to all federal funding. Of course the new board members are aware of strings attached to these federal programs that obligate the school district to comply with federal mandate after federal mandate. The feds always say this is just limited and to help this particular problem but they said the same thing about Medicaid when it passed in 1965 and was implemented in the 70s. The states can never get free of it. The intent of the school board members is that if this is a good and needed program it should just be funded locally, not federally with strings attached into perpetuity.

    1. No less than Dennis Daugaard held the position that responsible state and local leaders need to get their share of federal money doled out to states and cities. There’s a valid concern about taking on dollars with strings that create huge ongoing debt holes after the funds stop, but is that the case here?

    2. Has the school board done an ounce of research to explore that expense and what it will cost locals?

  8. Are we talking about, like, legal immigrants from Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, or Brazil?

    Or, are we talking these strange Afghanistan emergency resettlements, or perhaps the fiercely militant slave culture Somali refugees, or …

    I think it is important to clarify.

  9. The new school board members were elected because of their stance of a balanced budget, parental choice on masking and vaccinations, and stopping the indoctrination of the students into socialism. A year or so ago, the old board and overpaid Superintendent tried to get a bond issue to borrow money to build some new schools. The bond would have financed the schools with the funds obligated for some buildings not even being started for for a number of years. Sane voters decided this was ridiculous. It was found that the schools could be built using funds as they are given to the district. That would save interest etc. The targeted schools would still have all been built within a year of so of what the bond issue proposed.
    Under that school board and Superintendent, one of the nicer schools in town was up for a tax sale for not paying some tax due. Some private citizens in a group bought the tax deed and returned the property to the school district after the RCAS reimbursed them. There was no interest or other charges involved in that transaction. That would have made some big money for some investor to develop into a nursing home or apartments. This school has a medical facility built into it as well as a large amount of bare land for future development. Thank God for due diligence on the part of the group. Yes, this was a group The SDWR considers to be radical. Nope, not radical, patriotic citizens protecting taxpayer and citizen rights under the Constitution and following the GOP platform.

  10. The RCAS school district (like many other districts) gets a ton of other federal money that they are “tied to” as Board Member Jim Hansen states. That said, RCAS is using Uncle Sam’s (Uncle Joe’s) COVID funds to the tune of $62 million to build two new schools. If that isn’t money that has strings, you tell me. Its funny how on the one hand RCAS board says no to a small $30,000 grant that helps kids learn English and then during the same meeting says yes to $62 million. I guess money talks and…..well you know the rest. Don’t believe me….

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