Billion's Education plan.. It might not cost quite a billion, but I'll bet it's several million
Billion said he and running mate Eric Abrahamson, who are challenging Republican Gov. Mike Rounds, propose revamping the system, beginning with preschool.Read it all here.
"South Dakota is one of 12 states without a preschool education program," Billion said. "That is absolutely a tragedy."
Other proposals involve increasing teacher salaries, auditing state government spending for additional funding, and increasing funding for scholarships.
"Our pledge is, we will bring teachers salaries up to a competitive level, up to the average of the surrounding states within our first term," Billion said.
Billion said he wants to expand long-distance learning technology and help rural school districts share services. He also wants to improve scholarship funding for state schools, saying South Dakota contributes $12 per student, compared with $161 per student in Iowa and $246 per student in Minnesota.
Billion did not have a dollar amount for what his proposals would cost the state, but he said improving South Dakota's economy would allow for increased education funding.
So, for starters, he wants to vastly raise the average salaries of South Dakota teachers. I agree it's a noble goal, but I'm enough of a realist to want to know the price tag on it.
Then on scholarships, if we go to the level of our neighbor, we'd be increasing scholarship funding about $150 per student. And don't forget that we want to add to the cost with a preschool education program, and expand long-distance learning technology.
As you can see, Jack is full of "great" ideas. But he doesn't know what it will cost? Isn't that a bit, irresponsible?
Shouldn't that be the first order of business for someone who wants to lead South Dakota Government? To have at least a clue of what the price tag would be for his proposals?
It's like saying I want to build a South Dakota spaceport. It will prepare us for the future and invest our economy into aerospace. But if the thing costs taxpayers $250 million in the first year, it might not be the smart thing to do at the moment.
So, as far I'm concerned over what Billion is saying, he's laid out the first half of his education proposal. "The good news," so to speak.
Now let's hear the bad news - what it will cost.