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Superintendent: District Needs More Funding

September 7, 2012, 9:53 PM by Derek Olson

Superintendent: District Needs More Funding

The school year is in full swing, and districts all around the state are trying to cope with less funding.  But the superintendent of the state's second-largest district says the lack of funding can't continue if his district is to survive.

How to do more with less is a question the Rapid City School District is struggling to answer.

"Can you do that at home?  Can a business do that?  It's very difficult," Rapid City School District Superintendent Tim Mitchell said.

The district has already cut more than $4,000,000 from its budget and is looking to cut millions more next year.

"Maybe you're not going to get the textbooks that you needed.  The computers, you're going to have to get by for another year or two with older software," social studies teacher Patrick Moriarty said.

In order to make ends meet for the 2012-13 school year, Rapid City Schools have had to dip into savings and re-direct other budgeted funds in order to balance the books. But Mitchell says that can't continue.

"As we continue to do budget forecasting models, we have these issues with the ability to cut enough and still remain sustainable," Mitchell said.

The superintendent believes that the solution lies in a balanced approach that couples streamlining programs with new revenue.

"Do you and can you continue to become more effective and efficient?  And people thinking we can just cut more and more stuff, or can you advocate for more resources?  I take the middle ground.  I say both," Mitchell said.

In the meantime, teachers like Moriarty are doing what they can to lessen the impact the cuts have on students.

"You just try to keep doing what you can with what you have, you know? You try to make cuts where you can," Moriarty said.

We brought Mitchell's concerns to State Representative Jacqueline Sly of Rapid City who says that legislative committees are looking at the issue.

However, Sly says it's unlikely they will take any action until after the November election, which features Initiated Measure 15 and Referred Law 16.  Both deal with education funding.

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