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Educators Hopeful for Measure 15

December 5, 2011, 6:56 AM by Austin Hoffman

Educators Hopeful for Measure 15
TEA, SD - They were two of the most heated topics to come out of the last legislative session: budget cuts sliced 6.6 percent from education and 6 percent from Medicaid.  But now a group is looking to put money back into the two systems.

Moving South Dakota Forward collected enough signatures to get Initiated Measure 15 on the November 6, 2012 ballot.

It would raise sales tax by one penny and generate around $175 million, which would be split between Medicaid and education.

Local administrators are all for it.

"Something had to be done with all the cuts that were made last year, with all the revenue that was lost," Tea High School Principal Al Laboranti said.

The Tea School District had to trim around $500,000 this year after the state wide budget cuts went through.

"We need, you know, to somehow get that money back into our system and I think this would be a great way," Laboranti said.

They had to let some teachers go and if Measure 15 passes, he would like to see them back in the classroom.

"By hiring more teachers you can offer more classes, maybe have a little more rigorous and relevant curriculum by having more options and more flexibility," Laboranti said.

He says it all comes down to the quality of education they can provide their students.

"You're talking about a precious commodity here in the youth of South Dakota and America and we need to provide the best education possible.  And if we keep having to cut back, cut back, cut back, were not going to be keeping up with the Jones's and were not going to be keeping up with our foreign counterparts," Laboranti said.

And from who he's talked with, it sounds promising.

"People in this community, people in communities around South Dakota, they’re for it, the people that I’ve spoken with. And were talking about, you know, a penny," Laboranti said.

Laboranti said Tea has been great in supporting the school system, but they cannot continue to rely on the pubic to fundraise.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
The percentage of funds cut from education and Medicaid was corrected.

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