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SF School District Outlines Education Proposal

February 3, 2012, 4:56 PM by Nicole Winters

SF School District Outlines Education Proposal
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Governor Dennis Daugaard has laid out his education funding and reform proposal, Democrats have laid out theirs and now the Sioux Falls School Board is letting lawmakers in on its ideas as well.

"We thought well there's a huge discussion on education reform going on, we want our legislators to hear our side," Kent Alberty said.

The Sioux Falls School Board invited area lawmakers to have a discussion about education funding and the Governor's reform plan.
 
As part of the talks, School Board President Kent Alberty outlined the district's unique demographics and presented its own funding proposal.

"A couple of the recommendations the school board and Superintendent Homan made, they're right on track with the thinking of my peers and administration," Republican State Senator Mark Johnston of Sioux Falls said.

But not everything Johnston heard is inline with his thinking.

The proposal calls for a four percent increase, or the rate of inflation, yearly along with a 0.5 percent increase for performance pay.  But Johnston says that may be too high, at least for now.

"We've got a school funding law in place.  We're going to fund it to what the economy tells us.  Let's get some of these incentives, one-time money in place, into the hands of those who need it.  Let's have another discussion next year, possibly even a new formula," Johnston said.

But one part of the proposal Johnston says he will bring back to Pierre is local control. The district wants more control over where money goes. An example: Sioux Falls administrators do not foresee a shortfall in math and science teachers and would like to put that potential money elsewhere.

"What we want to be able to do is meet the needs of our local school district. The Sioux Falls School District is different by its nature," Alberty said.

"The needs of Sioux Falls are different than needs of Rapid City.  The needs of Aberdeen are different than Dakota Valley and one size does not fit all," Johnston said.

While both sides may not agree whole heartily with everything, both say they're working toward the same cause.

The district's proposal is not new.  It first proposed it about five years ago.

The School Board also talked with lawmakers about legislation they are in support of. One is a bill that bans K-2, a synthetic drug.  Another allows fees for preschool, after school and summer programs.

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