Gubernatorial candidates debate: In education, how much is enough?
The Argus Leader has a story this morning on the debate over education between Governor Mike Rounds and challenger Jack Billion, in the face of the adequacy study funded by a group of school districts, and the study commissioned by the legislature:
School funding has been a public policy debate since the days of school reorganization and the first education formula in the late 1960s, and the topic has been a fixture in each of the joint appearances by candidates during this year's governor's race between Republican Gov. Mike Rounds and Democratic challenger Jack Billion.Read it all here.
Rounds generally says the state is doing more than the law, or inflation, requires for K-12 schools, while Billion says South Dakota needs to put more money into schools just to match what neighboring states spend.
"In the last three years, inflation was about $349 per student," Rounds said during a recent forum. "We put in $126.33 more than that, making a total of $475.66 per student ongoing funding."
Maybe so, Billion said, but it isn't enough.
Avon Superintendent Tom Oster serves on the task force. He shares some of the frustration Voss expressed, although he said the task force dug deeply into how the 10-year-old formula works.
"We've looked at a lot of the features," Oster said. "But we were told from the state that we weren't going to look at money. I'm not sure what we'll accomplish."
The purpose of the task force isn't to look for an immediate fix for school funding but to try to see how the formula can be made to work effectively far into the future, said Rep. Phyllis Heineman, R-Sioux Falls.
"We should not look at what's going to work tomorrow or next year, but what's going to work in 10 years," she said.