Lawmakers will gather in Pierre on Tuesday for the first day of the 2013 legislative session...
On the table this time around - hot-button topics like gun control, oil exploration, higher education and funding for South Dakota's public schools. Governor Dennis Daugaard recommends that state aid to school districts be increased by 3% to account for inflation, but some educators say it's not enough.
The superintendent of the West Central School District tells us he hopes this session brings more funding to schools. He's worried the budget cutbacks may drive some away from teaching. We met with a former teacher who left the classroom to find a new passion in Pierre.
"I have a lot of colleagues who have talked about teaching because we were passionate about it and we want to do it but you also have to feed your family and keep a roof over your head and clothe yourself." Former West Central teacher Paula Hawks is now Representative Paula Hawks. She wants more funding than what the governor recommends. "It's definitely not enough. No. By state law, we have to do 3% and we should be doing 3% but it would definitely be nice to have the revenue to increase that amount and fund schools fully."
West Central school district superintendent Jeff Danielson agrees more funding is needed. "Because growing only at the statutorily obligated amount, will not get us back on those pre-budget cut amounts. We'll never grow by the amount necessary to get us back on track."
And since the state is projecting a budget surplus -- Hawks says she would like education to have bigger piece of the pie. "When you're running a business or household even, you keep a certain amount in reserves. Then you have to plan for unexpected things. But I don't know that saving it for a rainy day when it's already raining pretty hard, is really a good excuse." As school districts deal face funding issues -- teachers have their own budget issues to deal with. "It is going to get more and more difficult for teachers, professional teachers to stay in that profession, simply because you have to keep up with expenses. If you cant do that in your profession, you might have to find something else to do."
Hawks says West Central was fortunate to not lose staff. Instead -- they cut the budget for some programs and classroom supplies. She says teachers and parents try to pick up the slack when they can but it takes it's toll.
Tuesday, December 3 2013 10:48 PM EST2013-12-04 03:48:06 GMT
Canton residents have voted down a proposal to build a new aquatic center. The city required 60% of voters to approve the bond to pass; only 50.9 voted yes. Canton financial officer Kyle Cwach said 412 votedMore >>
Canton residents have voted down a proposal to build a new aquatic center.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 11:29 PM EST2013-12-07 04:29:51 GMT
With the Salvation Army Warming Center's doors not open yet, the Sioux Falls Police Officers have seen an increase of homeless people out on the streets in the below zero temperatures. KSFY's Tess HedrickMore >>
With the Salvation Army Warming Center's doors not open yet, the Sioux Falls Police Officers have seen an increase of homeless people out on the streets in the below zero temperatures. KSFY's Tess Hedrick took rode along with a Sioux Falls Police Officer Friday evening.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 11:19 PM EST2013-12-07 04:19:35 GMT
HURON, S.D. (AP) - Governor Dennis Daugaard has announced the formation of a task force to find a balance between modern agricultural practices and wildlife-oriented land conservation. Daugaard madeMore >>
He's concerned about the declining pheasant population and its statewide impact.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 11:08 PM EST2013-12-07 04:08:17 GMT
The Sioux Falls Police Department is asking for the public's assistance in locating a missing person that is memory impaired. The missing person is Leroy Harold ‘Bud' Anderson. He is a white male, 75More >>
The missing person is Leroy Harold ‘Bud' Anderson. He is a white male, 75 years old, 5' 10" tall 180 pounds, white hair, balding on top.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 11:00 PM EST2013-12-07 04:00:52 GMT
LUCAN, Minn. (AP) - The names of the two children killed in a farmhouse fire in southwestern Minnesota this week have been released. The family identifies the victims as 7-year-old Hazel and 4-year-oldMore >>
The two were unaccounted for after the fire Wednesday. One of the children's bodies was found Wednesday, the other a day later.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 7:27 PM EST2013-12-07 00:27:18 GMT
Every year the streets of downtown Dell Rapids fill up to welcome the holidays with open arms. But the recent blast of arctic air has forced organizers of Christmas at the Dells to make some changes. "IMore >>
Cold weather cancels outdoor portion of Christmas at the Dells annual holiday event.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 6:47 PM EST2013-12-06 23:47:21 GMT
WCCO -- A family is western Minnesota is dealing with a tragic loss. Two of their children were unaccounted for after a fire started in their home Wednesday. The bodies of those children were found WednesdayMore >>
A family is western Minnesota is dealing with a tragic loss. Two of their children were lost in a devastating house fire Wednesday. More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 6:10 PM EST2013-12-06 23:10:35 GMT
The fate of South Dakota's minimum wage rests in the hands of voters, Secretary of State Jason Gant announced Friday. After passing the petition certification process, the issue is now known as InitiatedMore >>
The fate of South Dakota's minimum wage rests in the hands of voters, Secretary of State Jason Gant announced Friday.More >>