Dems release Education spending plan. But, where's the money they want to spend going?
According to the Rapid City Journal:
Democratic leaders in the state Legislature on Wednesday announced a plan that would, by the end of five years, increase annual state aid to education by $100 million. And they said they'd do it without increasing taxes and without spending down reserves.Read it all here. Regarding Alan Hanks' comments - that's what I said. Where are they planning on stealing those interest funds from?
"We truly believe that the resources are present in South Dakota at this moment, as we speak," Senate Democratic Leader Scott Heidepriem said.
The Democrats would pay for the plan with:
"This can be accomplished without raising taxes or touching our trust account principal," House Democratic Leader Dale Hargens said.
- Interest from the Education Enhancement Trust Fund, which comes from the state's tobacco settlement.
- Interest from the Dakota Cement Trust Fund, which comes from the sale of the Cement Plant.
- Money from the Property Tax Relief Fund, which comes mostly from video lottery.
Heidepriem said growth in the two trust funds, growth in state revenues and a tighter rein on spending could pay for the plan.
Rep. Alan Hanks, R-Rapid City, said Democrats were leaving out part of their plan. "They should also identify programs they're going to cut," he said.
According to the Argus, the Associated School Boards of South Dakota are hitching their wagon to the Democrats plan, because it comes closer to what their study says they need (otherwise known as the give-us-everything-we-want-plan):
Wayne Leuders, head of the Associated School Boards of South Dakota, said his group supports the Democrats' concept because it comes close to meeting needs of an education funding adequacy study an alliance of education groups commissioned last year.Read that all here.
"We're hoping to support any funding at all that comes close to what the alliance showed is needed," he said.He said he hasn't seen details of the proposal, but "It sounds to me like it makes a commitment that can't be sustained over time.''
Senate Republican Leader David Knudson of Sioux Falls said the Democrats might be overreaching.
Knudson said the state should be careful about "depleting trust funds so aggressively the principal doesn't keep pace with inflation.''
Maybe someone can answer this question for me. With South Dakota kids already ranking very highly in academic achievement, what will this money be spent on?
Don't get me wrong - I'm not trying to be a smarty pants. I believe that many of our older schools are dilapidated and falling apart, and there are genuine needs in education. But educating students is priority #1.
If people are talking about spending this type of money on education, as a taxpayer, I'd like to know what it's specifically going for. If we give "X" dollars to a school district what percentage is going to go towards what?
If those in power want taxpayers to sign off on a plan, they'd better start explaining that first and foremost.