Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

House Education Committee Chairwoman Jacqueline Sly said schools should not stash money in savings.
House Education Committee Chairwoman Jacqueline Sly said schools should not stash money in savings.
Black Hills Knowledge Network photo/Denise Ross
January 26, 2015

House Ed Chair: Many Schools Hoarding Funds While Teacher Pay Suffers

South Dakota has ranked dead last at 51st nationally for teacher pay for 25 years, but the expenditure per student is 35th while the amount socked away in schools' bank accounts is No. 1 - $230 million, Rep. Jacqueline Sly, R-Rapid City, told a Rapid City crackerbarrel crowd Saturday. 

Sly, who chairs the House Education Committee, acknowledged that the teacher pay issue has come to the forefront but she said the solution might not lie with the Legislature alone. 

"We have allowed our local school districts to make lots of decisions, and we like it that way, but maybe we should think about guidelines or boundaries for our districts," Sly said, suggesting the possibility of new laws governing local school districts. 

A consultant recently told lawmakers that individual school districts should hold no less than 10 percent but no more than 30 percent in savings, or reserves, Sly said. She said too many districts in South Dakota exceed that 30 percent mark. 

"Every year they get tax dollars, and every year we continue that process, and it should not be. we are cheating our students and our teachers when we are holding that money in a savings account," Sly said.

Rapid City Area School Board President Jim Hansen told lawmakers at the crackerbarrel that Rapid City's savings will soon be below the 10 percent level, and he noted that large school districts are struggling under the state's current K-12 funding system. 

Sly said that the Rapid City school district has long needed change in several areas, and budget cuts now being laid out are overdue. 

Rep. Lance Russell, R-Hot Springs, disagreed with Sly, saying lawmakers should not place blame on individual school districts when the Legislature has limited their options by passing various laws. For example, state law limits a district's annual budget growth at 3 percent. 

He said South Dakota's per-pupil spending has not yet returned to the level before Gov. Dennis Daugaard pushed across-the-board spending cuts during his first year, 2011. School funding was cut $127 million then, he said. 

Both KOTA radio and South Dakota Public Radio posted stories about Sly's statements. 


Related items

  • Pennington County Care Campus Adds 64 New Beds

    Sixty-four new treatment beds opened up at the Pennington County Care Campus today, as the final phase of work on the campus’ second floor was…
  • Lead-Deadwood School Board Announces Vacancy

    Board member Bob Nelson, Jr. submitted his resignation to the Lead-Deadwood School Board at its October 8th meeting, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. It was…
  • YFS Programs Receive $100,000 Grant

    The Girls’ Inc. and Health Connections Programs, both operated by Youth and Family Services in Rapid City, have been awarded a grant of $100,000 by…

Get Involved!

  • Need more information? Rapid City Public Library associates are standing by to answer your questions! Ask away in the box below during business hours for live feedback.

    For more on this feature, click here.

  • bhkn donate

    Enjoy our work? Donate today to ensure that community members will have access to our wealth of news, history, and data for years to come.

  • 211 logoDid this post inspire you to get involved? Visit our partner 211's Volunteer Database to find volunteer opportunities in your community.

525 University Loop, Suite 202
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 716-0058   [email protected]