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NE SD Group Wants 1 Cent Sales Tax To Fund Ed.

February 17, 2011, 5:02 PM by Katie Janssen

NE SD Group Wants 1 Cent Sales Tax To Fund Ed.
Lawmakers say they're sticking to their campaign promises to not add new taxes, but several polls show South Dakotans would be willing to pay more in sales tax if the money would fund education.

A Milbank woman has set out to prove it.

Marylynne Fields began has been giving out petitions in Milbank and surrounding towns at businesses, at ballgames and to people she meets on the street. She wants to show lawmakers and Governor Daugaard that people would pay a one-cent sales tax if it meant more money for education.

"He said, 'We're not hearing from the public,' and I said, 'I'll go back home and see what I can do,'" Fields said.

So far she's collected more than 300 signatures, and hundreds of petitions are still circulating.

"When I've approached people, I haven't had anybody refuse me hardly at all," she said.

Fields is a former school board member at Milbank and the Associated School Boards of South Dakota, and had six kids go through Milbank schools. She says she's seen education take a backseat at the funding table for years.

"My grandchildren that have gone through the school system have had less opportunities and choices than my kids did," Fields said.

Petitions are even set up at the school, and students at Milbank definitely know about education cuts. Several programs and staff positions have been eliminated in the last few years, and the district has spent down its reserves.

"I can't imagine having more kids in a classroom; it's hard enough the way it is," senior Emily Endrizzi said.

Endrizzi is proud of the local effort to support education, and hopes it makes a difference in Pierre.

"We can always make it work, it's just that there's such an emphasis on education and I wouldn't want kids to get anything less than they deserve," Endrizzi said.

Fields is a Republican and a strong supporter of Governor Daugaard. She's one of hundreds of teachers, parents, and concerned citizens who plan to show up at the Statehouse on Wednesday, March 2nd, to deliver the petitions on "Stand Up for Education Day." They invite everyone who's interested to do the same, and wear their school colors. 

Click below for a schedule of events and more information.
Stand Up for Education Day Schedule.pdf

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