Educators optimistic about Gov. Daugaard’s budget address

Most governments at all levels are tightening their belts. The Rapid City School District took a multi– million dollar hit in last year’s budget. That’s because the state trimmed education budgets by 6%.

The last budget address brought bad news to the state’s schools: a $52 million cut.

“The cuts have deeply impacted the Rapid City school district to the point we’re utilizing some fund balance, some capital flexibility and some reductions from last year to make this budget work,” said Dr. Tim Mitchell, Superintendent of Rapid City Area Schools.

But Dr. Mitchell and other educators say they’re optimistic about what the governor will say this time around.

“I’m very hopeful and optimistic that we won’t receive any additional cuts and hopeful that maybe we’ll have increased revenue in the future,” said Principal of South Canyon Elementary, Brad Jungwirth.

According to a report released by the Associated School Boards of South Dakota, taxpayers were also hit hard. Taxpayers are paying 46.2 percent of the formula funding through property taxes.

“We need to be fiscally responsible and we need to move forward with making plans that long–term we can sustain the school district with the current revenue,” Dr. Mitchell said.

But as it stands now, educators are finding out sustaining is hard to do.

“We’re still being asked to conserve where we can paper–wise, material–wise and do what we can.” said Mike Staedtler, a second grade teacher at South Canyon Elementary.  “It just make things tougher.”

It makes it tougher to focus on what educators really want to: preparing students for the future.

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