Rapid City School Board to legislators who opposed opt-out: And your plan is…?

The Rapid City School Board is waiting for the plan from legislators who waded neck deep in the local election and opposed the proposed opt-out as a group:

“It really hurts, because now we’re back to the only thing we can do, and that’s start cutting programs and start cutting staff,” Hansen says. “You know, because 85 percent of your budget is always staff.”

Hansen and other supporters of the opt-out say they now expect those who opposed it to present meaningful alternatives.

District 35 state Rep. Lynne DiSanto of Rapid City wants to do that, beyond tax hikes.

“We really would like to have all things on the table, besides just a tax increase,” DiSanto says. “We really would like to look more comprehensively at some options for school funding.”

DiSanto joined three other Black Hills lawmakers in a press conference against the opt out the day before the vote. Hansen says that put the burden on them to have a plan.

“I can’t believe they don’t already have it,” he said.

Read it all here at KELOLAND.

What’s your thoughts on it? 

Politically, did the group of legislators step into the middle of a mess, given any problem solving they can provide is seven or eight months into the future and contingent on the other 101 legislators?

And will the school district be pointing fingers at them, and calling it ‘their fault’ when they cut things like band and football?

36 thoughts on “Rapid City School Board to legislators who opposed opt-out: And your plan is…?”

  1. Yea, they really stepped into it. Who do they think they are opposing a $30 million property tax increase on the heals of the Governor’s HB 1207 that proposed a $10 million property tax increase in the last Legislature. The Governor appointed a Blue Ribbon task force, including his own son-in-law, to propose a tax increase, because he does not have the courage to lead. It appears that the Pierre crowd didn’t learn anything from the opt out vote, but they did give us common core, didn’t they?

  2. DiSanto is an idiot with a self righteous ego who threw her colleagues under the bus at the end of session.

    It doesn’t surprise me that she doesn’t have a plan because education is not as big of a priority in sd as female genital mutilation.

    I don’t have a problem opposing the opt out because I opposed it also.

    But yes thinking is a requirement of a legislator and she will not participate in that aspect.

  3. Her colleagues threw themselves under the bus–she just made a truthful observation about it.

  4. Those three idiots couldn’t legislate their way out of a barn even if the door was open. Don’t look to them for any solutions that make sense. And when is anybody going to question Jensen about his criminal record?

  5. “Now school-board members are facing more budget cuts and asking opponents of the tax increase to offer solutions”

    That’s why they were elected: to make the tough decisions.

    BTW, why didn’t the administration and the school board have ALTERNATIVES ready in the event that the vote went against them? Were they not IRRESPONSIBLE to place all their plans into an opt-out votes?

    FIRE THEM ALL, then analyze the budget.

    1. they have alternatives, all bad ones. the superintendent is leaving, i hear. i voted in that election and i was a big ‘yes’ for the opt-out. legislators will keep doing nothing and the 26 member task force won’t do much better. there isn’t a statewide fix for the myriad problems, each district has to work, plan and lead their way out of it and leadership took a hit on election day. bigtime.

      1. 1. How is a full-scale re-evaluation of your programs and costs “bad”?

        2. Where is the pre-vote full scale re-evaluation?

      2. Do you understand that superintendents. and principals BRAG about their abilities to pass large funding measures?

        The new SF super. lists those multi-million dollar funding measures that he was able to pass in the two districts in NE where he worked.. They BRAG about how they get bond measures passed.

        CUTTING is NOT in their vocabularies, plans, or thought processes. It’s ALWAYS CHICKEN LITTLE SCARE TACTICS to get the bond measure passed, and no thoughtful alternative.

        For example, the new SF supt. (Maher) used a regular newspaper column to argue that the proposed Kearney bond issue for a new HS would not raise property taxes. The district was retiring one bond issue, and the new bond issue would replace that! Get it? A scheduled DECREASE in property taxes that would be replaced by a similar INCREASE under a new bond is not an “increase” according to the genius Maher!

        That’s how they operate. That’s how they are PAID to operate. That’s how they get PROMOTED.

        It’s sick.

  6. Not long ago I heard something about the Rapid City high school’s impressive number of vice-principals. It was like, 17 of them or something. I have no way to confirm or refute that, but it might be time to find out how many there are, exactly what they do, and how much they get paid to do it.
    In the private sector, it is customary to conduct desk audits to verify that the staff are actually being productive enough to justify their compensation.

  7. It is interesting the amount of blame pushed over to the legislators when the “people” are the ones who took a stand and told the “bureaucrats” no. The school board is supposed to make those hard decisions. They wanted a tax, the people said no. Is that too hard to understand?

    The people want their children educated, but not at the expense of higher taxes. Look at the capital outlay spending that has grown by leaps and bounds, and was actually used as one of the ways to “make the budget full” so they could justify the tax, from their perspective. But do we really need all the capital outlay spending that was proposed? I would say that if they would have shown they planned on raising teacher salaries, MAYBE, they could have passed the opt-out, but when they showed nothing to take care of the teachers, it showed their true motivation, and that is not taking care of the teachers. So don’t let the school board full you into thinking they wanted to raise teacher salaries, because that was not even in the extra spending currently.

    1. anyone concerned about the size and disposition of the administrative personnel in the rapid city system should go and determine the precise number, and then compare it to the state’s other school systems, rather than rely on friend-of-a-friend anecdotes. and regarding the logic of “people” prevailing over “bureaucrats,” what prevailed was cognitive dissonance. what a wonderful, useful too, this induced state of mind which makes illogic and inductive reasoning seem good and logical. voters who opposed the opt-out obviously think the problems created by financial shortfalls aren’t fixed by providing more money, that the legislature’s lack of any action to address the chronic problems will result in proper legislative action, and that the action which must happen, must happen without affecting me and my neighbors in the least little bit. so, fine. rapid city will cross the threshhold from cutting to the bone, to cutting through the bone. that’s what was approved. but keep echoing the circular dissonance about it please.

      1. ” rapid city will cross the threshhold from cutting to the bone, to cutting through the bone”

        Within the bone is the necessary and nutritious marrow.

  8. an enterprise of sufficient size and scope, has need of a sufficient number of administrative personnel. it’s like saying ford motor co only needed henry ford. you better believe that every straw has been grasped at in the effort to defeat and forestall every increase above the tax cap, and certainly anecdotal horror stories about too-many-chiefs-not-enough-indians has been employed by both tax protesters and those advocating for teacher pay increases at one time or another. so i think people should get comparative data from sioux falls, mitchell, aberdeen, etc on the administrator/teacher/student ratio and have a fact-filled discussion of this.
    to the question of “the people” prevailing over the “the bureaucrats,” the representatives of “the people” thought long and hard before opting out, the bureaucrats can’t to that directly. what prevailed: the time honored tactic of inducing cognitive dissonance. what a magical thing, this thing that makes illogic and inductive reasoning seem like logic and sense. cognitive dissonance was on full display in the ‘no’ vote: no, more money won’t fix a huge budget deficit. no, there’s a way to fix this that won’t cost money and it’s time to do THAT thing. no, it’s the legislature’s job, and since they fail every year to fix the chronic problems, we’re sure they can fix it. that’s what won. yay cognitive dissonance, making people gladly kill them selves by smoking and other means since the 50’s.

    1. “it’s the legislature’s job”

      No, each school district can and should set its own priorities and make its own funding decisions.

  9. these referendums are going to really bite the legislature seriously someday. the ‘occupy’ folk are going to push for a public vote on a huge socialist thing that can’t possibly pass the legislature, the public will hear the sob story of it and pass it, and lawmakers will finally be forced to: eliminate the property tax cap, or institute a state income tax, or severely cut or eliminate a whole department of government in order to cover the cost. voters need to start being told “approving this idea on the ballot with the hazy notion that it’s free or just happens, is approving something that YOU will end up paying for.” the delay tactic of shoving the school funding question back at state lawmakers pushes the whole question up into this territory and people better realize it.

    1. the whole ‘bread and circuses’ thing is really at play here. the public drains the treasury and requires that they put nothing into it. that is the mental habit that these votes end up cultivating. you avoid ‘bread and circuses’ by understanding the corrupt nature of that course,and shouldering the load responsibly.

      1. These Socialists like “Enquirer” who push the Left’s agenda while running around claiming to be an (R) are a major problem for the GOP. They are aggressive and act just like their honest Liberal brethren in their war on conservatism except they do it from within.

        We don’t need more big govt loving liberals like Enquirer. Go to the SDDP, we don’t need your Leftist crap.

        1. i’m not a democrat, just like you ultra hard righties aren’t ‘true republicans.’ thanks for your input but i’m already in the big tent party and you can’t burn that tent no matter what you do to it. i love it here and i’m right about a bunch of loudmouths shirking their participation in solving this. failing to dig into, understand, and then share part of the burden of solving this is certainly not the sign of a smart approach to republican style governance no matter what scare story you tell over and over about the evil opt-out.

          1. oh crap and i see that two of those that would not post yesterday, are actually there today. whatever, i’m out.

  10. I have a relative in the RC school district, and the scare tactics they were using to push this opt-out were truly idiotic, and the property tax hikes if passed were horrendous. Maybe it’s time to get education back to academics. It’s not the school’s responsibility to be a parent, a nurse, a therapist, a coach, etc; it’s the school’s responsibility to EDUCATE ACADEMICS. A well rounded student does not need the school district to do it for him, but it does need good academics (and that does NOT include Common Core). How come teachers are supposedly poorly paid while the administrators and athletic directors are not? Teachers don’t get rich for the most part but neither do most other occupations in SD. If you want the huge taxes of MN in order to raise teacher pay, then nothing is keeping you in SD. If you want the huger taxes of CA, then go and enjoy that and see if you come out ahead there. I’m not advocating a like it or leave it mentality; I’m just trying to get people to realize that teachers are not that underpaid in SD for the most part, they just have a very loud lobbying voice.

    And if people want opt outs passed, they need to be reasonable in the amount, understand the amount of tax increase they are asking for, not be “chicken little” in their advocacy if it fails to pass, and listen to the people. One of the statements the pro opt out people used was that it wasn’t bad to ask for higher taxes because if the opt out didn’t pass, the same amount or higher would be paid to house all the juvenile delinquents resulting from defeat of the opt out. Come on, people!

    Our school district requested a huge opt out several years ago, and it was defeated two or three times. When the request became reasonable, it passed. None of the dire predictions made by the opt out proponents came to pass.

    I think it’s time to look honestly at just exactly where the money goes in education. How much for administration? How much for sports, busing across the state to games, room and board for athletes on trips, coaching staff, athletic directors, etc? I highly doubt that it pays for itself, as many think. How much for new gyms etc? How much for Common Core curriculum that even many teachers do NOT like (but the powers that be in Pierre and the lobbyists do so the kids get hurt). How much for the mandating testing?

    Maybe it’s time to look at the general fund vs the capital outlay fund. With the increasing value of land etc, the capital outlay funds have risen tremendously in the last few years. Maybe some of that should be designated for teachers salaries; it wouldn’t raise taxes anymore if the capital outlay levy for the district isn’t going to be lowered anyway. The legislature did allow certain other items than building and repairs to be taken out of capital outlay starting several years ago; maybe that’s where the legislature’s focus should be on this blue ribbon committee.

    Just pouring money into a school district is not the answer; if it were, Washington DC and the reservations would have the highest academic records of anywhere, and that is not the case. Make better use of the money, don’t stretch the truth when asking for taxpayers to ante up or else. Just a couple of common sense advice for proponents of more money for education. And instead of saying we are 50th in education funding, do some research on cost of living etc as that changes the ranking, believe it or not.

  11. The only thing I would add, USA is getting it’s butt spanked in math and sciences by Japan and South Korea. What are they doing to achieve that success? It isn’t Common Core AND I am sure they do not spend as much money per student as we do.

    Instead of grasping at more liberal control of education (Common Core), how about actually looking at what worked in the past, what works elsewhere, and implementing it here in SD. I challenge any Democrat/RINO to show me the success of Common Core that would justify it being pushed here in SD.

  12. the opposition to the opt-out was able to make perfect use of the principles of cognitive dissonance in stopping the opt out.
    cognitive dissonance occurs when the mind balances two opposite ideas, with the effect of halting any action in either direction. for instance, a mind can think ‘i want improved education’ and ‘i shouldn’t have to pay more, don’t want to pay any of it.’ left alone, that mind will have to sort through the mis-match, and accommodate SOME type of improvement at SOME type of cost to be paid.
    that mind is ripe for the insertion of a THIRD idea: ‘we need a better plan / there’s a better plan nobody has gone to yet.’ that THIRD idea is where cognitive dissonance does its magic trick – – the energy that would have gone into resolving the mental conflict is utterly drained by the synthesis idea, ‘if i DO NOTHING instead of the hard thing, i will get what i want.’
    this is that magic trick that advertisers and marketers use on us over and over and over, helping us kill ourselves with cigarettes, even in 2008 provably inducing a huge group of voters to think and feel that john mccain’s political plans and ideas were actually going to happen if they voted for obama.
    so now in rapid city, a group voted for fixing education by not fixing it. that is the turd of truth under every coat of shiny paint you put on about the ‘no’ vote.

  13. the truth is, rapid city is refusing to be saved from itself. every budget cut required should be kicked into effect, contracts should be terminated, positions downsized, programs ended. it’s what the voters voted for. i say it’s un-American to forestall it any longer. cut the bat-crap out of it all like the voters told you. give them what they voted for. there’s nothing left to do, sadly.

    1. the tax-cap / opt-out mechanism is the closest thing to catch-22 i have ever seen in action.

  14. Anon2,

    Fact: Government expenditure per student, primary (% of GDP per capita):

    South Korea: 21.8% (roughly 2,000 hours at school per year)
    Japan: 23.8% (roughly 1,800 hours at school per year)
    United States: 20.9% (roughly 1,620 hours at school per year)

    We could match Japan’s hours by decreasing summer break by a month. To match Korea, we’d also have to add 1/2 an hour per day. Is that what you propose?

    Justification for Common Core: It is more rigorous than current standards, it better prepares elementary students for higher levels of math/algebra/calculus when entering high school. How can we show the success when it was just adopted? If you don’t want Common Core, do you have a different proposal as the current standards aren’t working.

    1. Mr. Jones,
      So, we need to enact an untested program designed by businesses and non-educational experts to show that it is successful?

      We are not talking about rocket scientist math, SD educators have been educating young South Dakotans since before SD was a state, without the liberal left’s Common Core. SD used to rank near the top of education for many years, because of the local control that was protected here in SD.

      Republicans are AGAINST Common Core, not because it is fashionable to be so; but, because it goes against what Republicans believe in about limiting government and keeping education locally controlled by the parents.

  15. Guy above:

    “untested program designed by businesses and non-educational experts”: The purpose of especially math and science is to allow students to be prepared for the workforce. Right now, business, engineering, and science disciplines do not like what they are getting from the system. Why shouldn’t they have input on what is needed in the workforce? What is your credentials?

    “SD educators have been educating young South Dakotans”: To what end and purpose? In case you have noticed, the world (in particular the demands in business for math skills) has changed. Again, if students get an education which doesn’t prepare them for today’s world, are you going to pay their welfare when they don’t have the skills to get a job?

    “Republicans are AGAINST Common Core”: I am a Republican and I support Common Core and will do so until I see a better strategy for making our students “job ready” for todays world. You don’t speak for the party, especially one who is anonymous.

    “Republicans believe in about limiting government and keeping education locally controlled by the parents”: Since statehood and enshrined in the State Constitution, the State of South Dakota is principally responsible for ensuring adequate education for all students. They delegate execution of the standards to local schools but the Constitution places the principal responsibility with the State. Change the Constitution. Otherwise, that is the law and I’m sure you aren’t one of those anti-Constitutionalist liberal living document guys are you?

    Additionally, if I as a state taxpayer are going pay over half the cost of educating students around the state, it is wholly appropriate that I demand the job gets done adequately via state standards. Again, if you want to end State Aid and get it done, I’ll support amending the state Constitution to get the State our of education entirely.

    1. Mr Jones,
      While your mouth (fingers here) says you are a limited government Republican, your words scream statist and anything but a limited government Republican.

      FYI, Republicans believe it is the parents’ responsibility to educate their children and decide what is best for them, not the govt. I don’t speak for the party, but I can read the SDGOP platform which does. You advocate govt control over parental decisions, which is against the Constitution.

  16. Part of the problem with kids not being prepared for college level courses lies in the education system itself. An ad for a teacher, for example, reads “coach needed for football, also will need to teach math.” I know it isn’t worded that way, but that’s the way things are quite often done. My nephew several years ago was in middle school and had problems with math; he went to the teacher requesting extra help, but the teacher’s answer was that he had no time, he had to go to his coaching gig. Put the emphasis back on academics, hire teachers that are competent to teach math and science and make it evident that THAT is their job, nothing else. Making a kid do umpteen steps to arrive at the answer to 4-2=2 is ridiculous; math is an IS, it’s black and white, and 4-2=2 just is. Put the gifted program back in schools for those students that excel; it’s usually the first thing cut, never a sports activity. Have all the school systems offer the Destination Imagination experience to kids; again this is a creative, thinking activity so is never high priority. Common Core is not the answer. And isn’t all the mandated testing part of Common Core? Correct me if I’m wrong.

    My daughter had an incompetent high school science teacher, but he was an excellent coach and a nice guy actually. But the emphasis should have been first on competency for science. She went to a private tutor to get help (and she was not dumb either and now has two graduate degrees). If we want better educated students, then they need competent teachers with their first emphasis on academics.

    I as a taxpayer help pay half of the cost (actually more as we pay huge property taxes and many pay little or nothing, but that’s a different topic) of educating our students, then I should have a right to demand that academics be the focus of education. I also support standards, but I do not support Common Core, which is a misnomer anyway. It implies that little Johnny will be taught his multiplication tables or his American history (if taught at all anymore) at the same grade levels across the country, and I see nothing wrong with this. But this is not what Common Core is all about.

  17. Anon2:

    I support the right of parents to home school, send their children to private school or send their children to public school.

    By definition, public schools are the responsibility of the State (as outlined in the Constitution since statehood) with regard to standards and execution to those standards by school boards then to administration and finally teachers.

    Parental influence is how it is in a democratic republic- at the ballot box.

    Until the Constitution is changed and local school districts are willing to forego State Aid, this how it always has been and always will be. If you don’t like Common Core, design your own system and present it.

    But I know that won’t happen, you are afraid to put your name on your thoughts, which is understandable considering the depth of your thoughts.

      1. That is the typical response from a ninnyhammer whose thoughts can’t stand up to any rebuttal.

  18. mr. jones, was i correct in observing in the 1990s that the clintons had perfected the management of perceptions? i remember the president’s closed-door testimony in the lewinsky matter, and the ‘rumors’ that he was angry, belligerant, outraged. i remember conservatives running with the story and having a good round laugh about how ‘he finally got his due.’ and democrats were somewhat encouraged, glad he dished it back to ken starr. the reality of the transcripts really showed what happened, that the slickster was cooperative, amiable, and interested in arguing all questions down to their smallest and most meaningless bytes to make the matter go away. the truth was kind of pathetic and they didn’t want that image out there at any point.
    when i view the ‘common core’ controversy, and dozens of other points of conflict over the last twenty years, i know without any doubt that someone is financing a black-ops management of misinformation channels in this country; so many times the far right / tea party is whipped up into a frenzy and sharing a lot of outright false data, when the truth has proved far less extreme in many cases (the large exception being obamacare of course.)
    now more than any other time in our country’s history, when social media is so full of crap and anonymous crap to boot, people have to make their first two priorities 1. remaining calm, and 2. searching for verifiable data to test what is being spread out there.
    every time i hear common core opponents talk about history books being rewritten, kids being brainwashed etc. i stop and remember that common core is about math and science, period. bad math instruction has been around longer than common core has, sadly. it’s terrible that we need a huge bugaboo to finally notice that the curriculum that has been in place for a couple of decades isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do, and has not been for some time.
    pressure to ‘fix education’ has been applied all up and down the line of elected officials, from the school board to the legislature to the congress of the u-s. when you press congress, you get passage of something like common core. it has problems. in new jersey, chris christie has flipped from supporter to opponent because the implementation problems haven’t been solvable. jeb bush absolutely admits it’s problem-filled at this point.
    to anyone who fears that common-core will give kids a flawed education, i can only tell you that they were already getting that flawed education. the tragedy is that many well meaning people who responded to the pressure to improve and moved toward common core, are being made to pay a huge political price for doing that, at the hands of a feckless bunch of people who seem never to make use of the much-better education they received when they were kids.
    let’s calm down and really figure this out.

  19. Enquirer,

    I think you have a point but I’m not sure I agree with the idea there is something “black ops.” For a host of reasons (some well motivated and others nefarious), people oppose policies/direction/decisions. However, too often, the easiest way to get people to their side is to not argue the merits but appeal to emotion.

    Rightly (I am in this camp), many conservatives have a visceral reaction directives from the top down are often ill-advised. If one is opposed to Common Core (no matter the reason) and one wants to generate conservative opposition, it is far easier to assert Common Core is a liberal power grab or attempt to indoctrinate our children into Socialism or something else.

    People forget Common Core was originally motivated as an alternative to No Child Left Behind and a conservative response to a decline in education performance. The process was actually proceeding quite smoothly until three things happened:

    1) Rumors of what were going to be in the standards:

    a. The history standards were going to assert American history was mostly a exploitation of Native Americans and the environment to protect and further the interests of the rich.

    b. The science standards would endorse global warming, declare evolution as no longer a theory but scientific settled law and science and faith were incompatible.

    2) The standards would usurp local control with regard to curriculum and classroom teaching methods.

    3) Endorsement by Obama Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

    Suddenly my antenna went up so I understand why it has occurred in conservative circles. Fortunately, my youngest daughter was at Augie studying to be a teacher and I asked her. She handled me quite deftly. She appealed to my ego and knowledge I understand math at an advance level telling me to read the standards myself and make up my own mind.

    I started at the beginning (first grade) and by the time I got to the third grade I was asking questions. She told me to start at the end (what skills a high school senior should have and whether those standards supported it) and work backwards asking if the preceding standard/expectation was proper preparation for the later year. In short, a light bulb went off and the merits became clear- A third grade teacher’s opinion on what a third grader should know is less relevant than what a fourth grade teacher needs for skills to teach so she can properly deliver the 4th grader to the fifth grade teacher.

    Additionally, prior to this exercise spurred by my daughter, I ran into a smart and good lady from my church who home schools. She lit into me with regard to the math standards for her 2nd grade and 4th grade children. During the course of the conversation, I asked her what level of math she attained and she admitted she only took basic 9th grade math because she “isn’t very good at math.” While I didn’t say it, my thought going away was “while her love and motives for the good of her children is without question, what is her competence to determine what skills her children have to be able to handle more advanced levels of math?”

    At the end of the day, an education system which doesn’t have as its ultimate goal preparing high school graduates to be ready either for their career or further education is an education system which is failing. Thus:

    1) Common Core is most likely imperfect and can be improved. What can’t be? That said, few are satisfied with the current education performance. At minimum, it is an improvement as it turns the paradigm to a focus on the end goal (properly prepared graduates in core education disciplines). There is a maxim I like to say: “Don’t let the pursuit of perfection stop you from making an improvement today.”

    2) I’ve had literally dozens of conversations about Common Core. While having formed firmly held positions on Common Core, the two most common denominators are few people have actually taken the time to read the standards (I did math and science in an evening) and few people have an understanding of what skills are required in these disciplines to be successful. In case you haven’t noticed, only being able to add/subtract and multiply/divide is insufficient to succeed in this technological world. My grandfather was a most successful and competent farmer/rancher and he did it with an 8th grade education. My cousin is a most successful farmer with a Vo-Tech education. He believes his son will only survive as a farmer with a college degree in biology and a math/computer science minor plus business classes. Competence in only 9th grade math, Sophomore biology, and able to use Word, Excel and Facebook is insufficient making the argument “it was good enough for me” a predetermination of at best mediocrity.

    3) Even though I played basketball, baseball and still play golf, by the time my children were out of elementary school I recognized not only had I exceeded my ability to take them to the next level but much of what I taught them was insufficient. If I wanted them to be better, I had to step aside. Anon2 said I was arrogant for being willing to except standards instead of asserting my views. Personally, as a person of relatively high math skills, isn’t it more humble to defer to experts in math?

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