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May 09, 2016 10:00 PM

SDSU President Search Tab To Taxpayer: $156,000


Two weeks ago, South Dakota State University named an existing faculty member as the new president of the university. 

While the State Board of Regents didn't have to go far to find Dean of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, Barry Dunn, tens-of-thousands of your tax money was spent on the search.

KELOLAND's Angela Kennecke has been investigating exactly what was involved in that search and has uncovered a few details that include the use of the State airplane.

When we asked the question, how much the search for South Dakota State University's new president cost, we finally got the short answer: $156,000.  But getting details on how exactly that money was spent and on whom, is proving to be a lot tougher. 

Nearly two weeks after KELOLAND News submitted a public records request to the Board of Regents asking for records of all expenses involved in the search for the new SDSU President, including the use of the State plane, as it was used in that search, we got an email from the State which broke down the various ways the $156,000 was spent: 

 •         Travel to meetings, interviews, and the announcement of the new president.  That includes use of the State plane for regents, staff and members of the search committee.
•         Rent of SDSU's Performing Arts Center to make the announcement, as well as for a meal and lodging costs
•         Consultant's fees and advertising;
•         Miscellaneous costs, like shipping.
•        Candidate travel reimbursements.

When KELOLAND News asked for specifics, such as how many times the State airplane was used and at what cost; how many candidates were interviewed; or how much they were reimbursed, we were told the Board of Regents would treat that as a new public records request and we would get that information within ten business days. 

We do know there were four finalists, and three were from out of state. 
Dunn has spent 13 years of his academic career at South Dakota State University. 

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