Daugaard’s education budget: why so happy?

The positive reaction to Gov. Daugaard’s education budget was a bit puzzling. Sure, it’s better than a 10 percent cut or a kick in the teeth, but is a .8 percent per-student increase really worth celebrating?

The first thing Harrisburg Supt. Jim Holbeck told me was: “I’m pleased to see the dollar figures that were dedicated in light of the current revenue streams the governor was facing.”

Wade Pogany, the new top guy for the school boards association, was decidedly positive in his reaction: “We’re glad that we can get back to some predictability.”

He allowed that some school boards might have to continue making cuts, but he portrayed the budget proposal as good news for schools.

Positive, even though the plan wouldn’t give schools what ASBSD asked for: making the 2 percent in one-time money from last year permanent before adding the 2.3 percent inflationary increase already in law. Daugaard’s plan falls about 1.5 percent short of that.

(The $8.4M in training money is a big deal, but it could be described as the state paying for some things that they’ve mandated schools adopt.)

Sioux Falls School Board members struck a different tone Wednesday during a work session:

Board President Kent Alberty said he didn’t share Pogany’s view that schools did just fine.

Doug Morrison said the teacher salary schedule “will take a step backwards” if Daugaard’s plan becomes law.

I emailed Superintendent Pam Homan for some reaction to the budget address but she didn’t respond. Maybe we’ll have to wait for a Rotary meeting.