|How We Stack Down|
As Yucky Now As We Were In '13
(graphic from rapidcityjournal.com)
Leadership, however, is the art of the possibilities. On that score, the task force report is disappointing and disheartening. It's disappointing because even though it correctly calls attention to the wage gap between SD teachers and their counterparts in surrounding states, it doesn't understand that the crisis is focused on what kind of teachers we'll have in coming generations if the only applicants for SD jobs are those who are sub-qualified to work in places with higher wages. We could have an entire generation of teachers who are here only because they aren't good enough to get better paying work elsewhere. This is the crisis. As to disheartening, BRTF's "Recommendations for New Funding for Teacher Salaries" (about $75 million/year) are limited to a) using "existing funds to the greatest extent possible," and b) increasing "the state sales and use tax for additional ongoing revenue."
There are ways of generating revenues for schools that don't rely on what is probably the politically impossible effort to raise sales taxes. Overhauling the sales tax exemption list which in 2013 had nearly $600 million worth of special interest exemptions could have some productive results. Nearly 2/3 of them fall into the business--not agricultural--category. If you scan the list provided in my link you'll see that a lot of these seem to have no purpose other than protecting select businesses from having to charge sales taxes because . . . well, you'd have to ask somebody other than
|BRTF Meeting, Final Report In|
Solution Is Still A Work In Progress
(photo from sdpb.org)
No doubt some creative approaches that I haven't even thought about exist. Despite its lack of "boldness," the BRTF's final report makes for a good springboard from which some movement can materialize. To see "bold" happen, we next turn to Governor Daugaard for some leadership on this.