And the big news of the day - the school lawsuit proceeds on

According to an Associated Press article appearing on the Rapid City Journal's website, the School Lawsuit is proceeding full steam ahead (at taxpayer expense, I might add).
A circuit judge agreed Tuesday to consider whether the state's system for funding school districts violates the South Dakota Constitution, but she said she has no authority to order the Legislature to spend more money on education.

After a brief hearing in Pierre, Circuit Judge Lori Wilbur said the case will continue and a trial will eventually be held in the lawsuit, which alleges that the state is falling far short of providing the money school districts need. The trial in the case is now set to start in June 2008.
Read it all here.

Here's a thought to ponder - how many school districts involved in the lawsuit have members up for election this year? And how are they faring in their re-election efforts.

Because it should be a factor for their voters to consider. Do they support the actions of their boards to sue the state for more money? Or do they condemn it?


the big b said…
There could be other results that contradict this post, but from the TV news I saw tonight, there wasn't one school board incumbent that won re-election.
Anonymous said…
Elkton had one incumbent who won! He was the Board president. He came in second. We lost one other incumbent and gain another who i feel safe to say would be in favor of the law suit. If i remember correctly.
Anonymous said…
PP - a serious question here. No snark.

Why shouldn't school districts ask the Supreme Court whether the state is meeting its obligation to schools?

Lots of pressure, these days, from No Child Left Behind. All students have to succeed. HAVE TO. So, if all students HAVE TO succeed, then doesn't the state have to put schools in a position to succeed?

I'm really interested in your answer.
Anonymous said…
I think the majority of voters don't have a clue. They don't take the time to educate themselves.
Many smaller schools districts rely on the schools to keep the town alive instead of other avenues of revenue/investments for their communities.
At this point i would go into what i feel we need to do and/or get going with in this state instead of sitting on our hands.
PP said…
11:15 - I believe the suit is not proper, because you're asking the court to rule on a political question.

At the least, it's a legislative question. Not a judicial one.
Anonymous said…
Too bad the schools have so much taxpayer money on their hands they're spending it on a lawsuit, rather than educating the children they are in charge of.

If I was a legislator, I'd be asking myself "Why does public entity #1 use money given by public entity #2 to sue public entity #2? Further, why do the taxpayers have to bear the cost of such frivolity and pettiness?"
Anonymous said…
Other than Rapid and Sioux Falls a a few medium schools, how do you who support the lawsuit think we should fund education in smaller schools with decling enrollment and the high cost of maintaining buildings at the same time building new gyms onto the smaller schools. Also, ask yourself this and really think about it;
Where is the money really being spent?
Anonymous said…
too much ed money is wasted on bureaucracy in pierre and washington and fails to even get to the classroom. get rid of the waste, and there will be plenty of money to go around.
Anonymous said…
PP -

No, appropriating money is a legislative question. That's not what the suit is going to do. All this is going to say is: Is the Legislature providing for the students of the state?

What's wrong with that? It's just a check on the Legislative branch. Are they doing their job, or are they ducking beind?

Seems like a fair question.
Anonymous said…
Waste in education is the biggest lie there is. 80% of the money in districts goes to staff salaries and benefits - which is more than the national average.

As far as the question of how to fund small schools with declining enrollment - well, you won't ever be able to counter the effects of declining enrollment.

But, strangling the whole state because enrollment is declining in rural areas is, at best, morally wrong.
Anonymous said…
You can grind and grind on this issue, but it always comes back to the same two solutions.

You either need to close lots of small schools, or raise taxes. There's no other answer. The problem is, the legislature doesn't have the votes to do either one right now.

The lawsuit isn't the answer, but the small schools realize they have to do it now, because after the 2010 census the legislative districts will be drastically changed. At that point Sioux Falls and Rapid City combined will probably have over 50% of the lawmakers. Throw in a few votes from Aberdeen, Watertown, and Mitchell legislators, and small schools will disappear quickly.

The timing of the lawsuit isn't a coincidence. It's about people trying to save their jobs, not worrying about the quality of eduction.
Anonymous said…
This may or may not be the case in the future but I think it's pretty tough to argue our students aren't getting a quality education when we consistently rank in the top 10 in terms of performance.
This is not a check and balance as a previous poster said. This really is a political question and the way you change things of this nature is at the ballot box.
Anonymous said…
This may or may not be the case in the future but I think it's pretty tough to argue our students aren't getting a quality education when we consistently rank in the top 10 in terms of performance.
This is not a check and balance as a previous poster said. This really is a political question and the way you change things of this nature is at the ballot box.
edumicated idjit said…
Previous posters seem to have missed the major point of the adequacy lawsuit. What the suit is asking is for the Judicial branch to decide if the Legislative and Executive branches are doing their duty as it is stated in the SD Constitution. When numerous legislators have come out and stated that they do not believe that this is the case and the Governor has stated that its time to "bring it on" then this is the result. The state argued yesterday that it is a separation of powers issue and the court did not have jurisdiction. The judge disagreed and now it is up to the judge to hear the case and render a verdict. The politicians have had their chance and didn't feel the need to rectify a fundamentally inadequate system of funding education in SD. It has never been a suit against the taxpayers as some would like to paint it. The case rests upon the language of the state constitution and it will be up to the judge to decide the merits of the case. If the verdict is for the state to rectify the situation then the legislature and the Governor will have the responsibility for the final outcome, not the court. If the court were to decide that the present system adequately funds education then so be it. As a nation of laws and not of men it is always appropriate for parties to address their differences in the courts after all political opportunities have been exhausted. Now is that time and the next 2-3 years will tell the tale.
Anonymous said…
Fewer than 60% of the education dollars find their way into the classroom. That is a fact, and it is indisputable.

The judge dealt a major blow to the schools' lawsuit when she said that the courts cannot determine how much money the legislature can appropriate for education. Incidentally, the judge is to be applauded. She obviously knows the proper role of the judiciary.

The schools' hopes have hinged upon the same type of judicial activism in Kansas, Texas, and a host of other states in which the courts have legislated from the bench. In those cases, the courts have ultimately required tax hikes to accomodate higher doles to the schools. It was judicial activism at its finest.

SD's lawsuit is the direct result of like-cases in other states. When other state courts ruled the way they did, the local administrators got all lathered up and started foaming at the mouth, thinking that the feeding frenzy was on. They commissioned a study at taxpayer expense (by the same group who "studied" the Kansas education funding formula), and once the results of the study had been concocted, some schools zealously moved forward with their lawsuit.

In the end, this will amount to little more than an opportunity for a few administrators to get quoted by the newspapers....all the while neglecting to do the jobs they were hired to do....EDUCATE OUR KIDS! To quote the legislators whose law firm is handling this case, it's time for the schools to "get back to work."
Anonymous said…
Poster: Edumicated idjit

I posted a question of education funding by presenting questions.
I believe that the posters following my posting were answering my question.
Thus i do not feel they were answering anything wrong at all.
Anonymous said…
Let's face it, okay in my humble opinion let's face it.
When it comes to educaiton and the SDEA there is not amount high enough that they will accept! America could never print enough money for the SDEA.
Also as they keep trying to move younger and younger children into the public schools system the SDEA is going to be crying even louder for more and more money. And as the younger ones move in the more personel they are going to have to hire. What one teacher can do in upper level, even grade school we are going to have to hire 3 times the amount for lower level tot's education. Do you see where i am coming from with this post.
This is most likely off topic, sorry. please excuse any typo's I am not proofing.

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