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The Burke Gazette
Burke , South Dakota
February 10, 2016     The Burke Gazette
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February 10, 2016

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15 The Burke (SD) Gazette, FROM THE NORTH END Continued from Page 14 as important as it used to be as sim- ply being with "the guys" is what I truly enjoy. When I golf I seldom keep score anymore as I can't re- Gregory Co. ") The Family Of M. Ruth Wagner is requesting a Card Shower for her 80th Birthday on February 18th Wednesday, February 10, 2016 member how many strokes it takes to get from the tee to the hole-and I don't care. The old adage "stop and smell the roses" had to be coined by an oldie like me. It's amazing the lon- ger we live the more we appreciate life's small things. One of my great- est joys is taking Oscar and Buster for their daily walks as I find myself laughing at how they enthusiasti- cally explore every little thing like a bug or a leaf or a stick and even an- other dog's poops and pees. I think they're the ones that have taught me to really appreciate the little things in life. And then there's peer pres- sure-which is less and less as many of my peers have disappeared and continue to do so! I find myself wondering at what age does one have to reach when we no longer have to worry about the future? I've accepted the fact that the distant future for me no longer exists-I find myself thinking in the short-term! Yesterday I received a letter from an investment firm tell- ing me to think "long term." When you're my age, WHY? There is NO long term for this old f_ _t! I've reached that age where a person can just say, 'What the hell!" I'm not going to be around much longer anyway, so why not enjoy all the good things in life- ice cream, choc- olate chip cookies, fudge, brownies, Janet Bailey's rolls, lasagna, good haps the last) I fully intend to enjoy it! See you next week when I'll have made that move-if I can just make it a few more days! LEGISLATIVE i REPORT By: State Senator Billie Sutton Week four of the legislative session is complete, and the session is moving very quickly. We only have five full weeks left before our work needs to be completed. Edu- cation funding will be the topic of discussion for the fifth week of ses- sion, as the Governor's half penny sales tax funding bill will be voted on in committee and most likely on the House floor. This vote will set the tone for what the House mem- bers will be willing to support in regards to a tax increase for K-12 education. Education will continue to be the main focus of this legislative session as it should be every year. The Governor has filed his bills that relate to his plan for education. The House Republicans are also looking at a couple of different proposals to fund education. Their proposals seem to focus on shifting property taxes or forcing cuts in our current budget. In my opinion, such small steps would be a mistake at this time, as we will not see this kind of momentum to solve this problem for quite some time. bourbon, "heavy" beer, (I have al- I wrote about Governor ways thought that light beer is just Daugaard's plan' for education in i a step above or below water.) etc. I a previous article, but below is a Cards may be sent no longer have listen to, "You can't quick reminder of the basics of his to Ruth at: I eat or drink that; it'll kill you!" Too plan: I nd 36889 302 Street 1 late for that, no longer applies. And Creates a target average teach- if it does, what a way to go! So... er salary of $48,500. This increase "x Fairfax, SD 57335 ,,,a as I very quickly move into one of would still leave us last in our re- ! / gion. (currently in SD our average teacher salary is $40,023) Changes the student to teacher ratio average from 13.9:1 to 14.5:1 (based on new formula focused on a new student to teacher ratio). Raises the state sales tax 0.5% collecting ! Silver Threads $107 million in new revenue ($40 [ million of which would go toward I is looking for a _ property tax relief, meaning $67 I Part-time Cook _ million in new revenues to K-12 I Would consist of every third education). ] wee_k as other days Caps general fund reserves at ,l l Please or call stOPDonna in_to piCkatUP 40% dents, of General Fund Expenditures I an application at for schools with less than 200 stu- I 210E. 12thStreet dents, 30% for schools between 200 and 600 students, and 25% for I schools with greater than 600 stu- I 835-9717 Herrick United Methodist Church Sunday Services 8:30 AM . While I sincerely appreciate the Governor's willingness to make education funding and teacher pay the prime issue this legislative ses- sion, we need to make sure we have a plan that fixes this problem once and for all. It will be very difficult for schools to reach the target of $48,500 with the money provided under the current plan. As a Blue Ribbon Task Force member, I heard very clearly that our task was to be BOLD and solve the problem of teacher pay and education funding senior year. This statistic, coupled NOW. The Governor's plan simply with low performance on standard- does not go far enough. That is why ized tests and low attendance rates, me and several other legislators is proof that what we are doing is have proposed a plan that we think not working and we must find a way does just that. The main pieces of to do better. SB 82 focuses on edu- our plan are as follows: eating the whole child, using culture Creates a target average teach- and language in a relevant school er salary of $50,000 (putting South setting as an asset rather than an im- Dakota ahead of Nebraska, North pediment to success in school. Dakota, and Montana in average Historically, the revenue pro- teacher pay and making us very jections aren't presented and ad- competitive with our other sur- opted by the Appropriations Com- rounding states), mittee until about a week before Keeps our average student to the end of Session. Hearing about teacher ratio the same (13.9:1), so estimated revenues so late in the that schools do not have to consider process has then forced spending increasing class sizes. This plan is decisions to likewise be late. These especially beneficial to our smaller spending decisions are too impor- schools because a lower student to tant to wait for deliberation to occur teacher ratio for them will make up so late in the process. Under new for the loss of the small school fac- rules adopted by the legislature, the tor in the new formula, revenue estimates will be adopted Raises the sales tax a full 1%, on February 10th, allowing Appro- but removes the sales tax on food priators a more reasonable amount for the state portion (municipalities time for consideration. It's a much would still be able to tax food under appreciated and a long over-due this proposal) - netting $122.5 mil- change, which should significantly lion for K-12 education. Removing improve the process. the state sales tax on food saves a We will be having three legisla- total of $90 million for all taxpay- tive public forums that you are all ers. Not a single other state sur- encouraged to attend this coming rounding SD taxes groceries.Saturday, February 13th. The first We must put politics aside and forum will be at 10:00 a.m. in Win- figure out a way to work together to ner at the Statewide Ag building. solve this problem right now, not to The second forum will be in Burke put a band-aid on it and say we did at Stella's restaurant at 12:00 p.m. something. I will continue to work The third and final forum of the day with my counterparts across the will be in Platte at 2:00 p.m. at the aisle to find a bi-partisan solution American Legion on Main Street. that reaches an achievable goal that I cannot stress enough the impor- will adequately fund education and tance of you being in attendance, so get teacher pay competitive with we as your legislators can hear from our surrounding states, you on issues that are important to Senate Bills 81 and 82 passed you. Our democracy only works the Senate in week four and will when our legislators can work for now move to the House. SB 81our constituents. would create a paraprofessional tu- I encourage anyone to contact ition scholarship program for per- me with questions, concerns, and sonnel seeking to get their teaching new ideas on how we can improve certificate working in Native Amer- South Dakota as we move through ican Schools. Assisting these para- the legislative session. It is an professionals in our high population honor to be your Senator, and I will Native American Schools is a great continue working hard for all of you step in assuring that they will con- and for the great state of South Da- tinue teaching with a teaching certif- kota. icate in these schools. SB 82 would sen.sutton@state.sd.us establish an achievement schools 605-830-5540 grant program for three Native District21 Senator American schools in South Dakota. Minority Leader These achievement schools would Billie H. Sutton be part of the public schools system QUALM COLUMN and have to meet the same stan- Continued from Page 12 dards that any other public school three bills: HB 1182 would in- has to meet. The difference would crease the sales tax by a half penny be that this achievement schools and dedicate $40million for prop- program would seek to use Native erty tax relief: SB 131 establishes American languages and culture as a new funding formula and requires an additional teaching tool. These that 90% of new funding go specifi- bills came from the Native Ameri- cally to teacher pay. This bill also can Student Achievement Advi- imposes new caps on school general sory Council (NASAAC) summerreserve funds and on the growth of study that Governor Daugaard put capital outlay levies: SB 133 in- together through Executive Order eludes a number of proposals to re- during this last summer. The Coun- cruit and retain more teachers and to cil found that SD public schools create new opportunities for school with a population of over 50% Na- efficiency. tive American students have a 50% Governor Daugaard has in dropout rate from freshman year to Continued on Page 16