On Tuesday, Governor Daugaard is set to share his proposed state budget plan during a joint session of the legislature in Pierre. One group waiting with anticipation to hear what the governor has to say are South Dakota public school teachers. They want to know if the governor plans on loosening the state's purse strings for students and teachers alike.
It's the question educators ask themselves every year at this time of year: What dollar amount does the governor have in mind for South Dakota's public school system?
"Everyone wants to ensure that our kids in South Dakota get a great public education." Sandy Arseneault is president of the South Dakota Education Association and she is waiting to hear if the governor has good news or bad news when it comes to money for education. One thing Arseneault is watching: the state currently has $107 million in their rainy day fund and she wants to know why the state needs to hold that much money in reserve....and why some of it couldn't be spent on schools. "As I travel around the state and I see some of the challenges some of our school districts are looking at you when they've cut many programs and have increased class sizes...I think that is a rainy day for us in South Dakota."
Also, Arseneault would like to see some type of plan for doling out state education money more fairly between larger school districts and smaller districts. She says under the current plan, smaller district suffer. "The more students you have, the more money you do get into your system. Where does that leave some of those smaller schools that are struggling? I think we need to take a big look at the big picture."
The governor will deliver his budget address Tuesday morning to a joint session of the South Dakota legislature. We will be in Pierre for that address and will have the story both on air and on-line at ksfy.com.