SIOUX FALLS, SD -
This week, Sioux Falls voters will elect a new school board member. Even though there are only two candidates, both say it's especially important to think about who’s serving on the board as the community continues to deal with a difficult economy.
This year, the Sioux Falls School District cut $9 million from its budget to make up for significant cuts in state aid to education. It was considered the most difficult budget year yet, and board member Debbie Hoffman says tough decisions had to be made. But she’s proud of the work the district did.
"I think the biggest asset I have as a board member is that nine years of experience and recognizing that education funding, education strategy aren't things you just have; it's not normal knowledge," Hoffman said.
Hoffman says that experience certainly helps, but her main concern is keeping the kids in perspective while balancing budget decisions. The numbers may change, but the need to provide education doesn't go away.
"We're going to have to do that no matter what,” Homan said. “We get too focused on the money. Our job is to educate students and prepare them to be taxpaying adults, responsible citizens, active in their communities."
Doug Morrison played an active role in helping administrators fill the budget gap. As the CFO of Citibank, he was a member of the Finance Action Network that looked over the district's books and proposed a solution that wouldn't cost taxpayers.
"I'm proud of the solution we came up with. To think about what we were looking at to start off, a $9 million hole in the budget, how we filled that," Morrison said.
Morrison was a school board member from 2007 until last year, when he took time off to deal with changes in the banking industry. But now he says he's ready to be an advocate for education once again.
"The world is more competitive out there and we shouldn't be going backward. So it's that continued education, trying to get some cooperation," Morrison said.
The school board election is Tuesday, and officials are testing out new voting centers
. Rather than going to your usual polling place, you'll be able to vote at any one of 10 locations across town.
Click here for our previous story about Sioux Falls voting centers.
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