Thursday, September 18, 2008

Another School to Opt Out?

The question is, during deliberations over school funding, just what exactly is the cause of the issue with school funding in South Dakota?

The lack of funding in education is a symptom of a greater problem.

This article from the De Smet News notes, the financial resources flowing into a school is dependent upon the number of students going “into” that school.

One can conclude that the number of students going into any particular school is dependent upon the resident population of the community where the school is located.

Mark Sampson, Iroquois Superintendent, opines that it takes economic development to maintain a healthy population, yet, the State of South Dakota has done nothing to help Iroquois with development.

Therein lies the problem: Our strategic plan is flawed. Mr. Sampson is exactly right in one regard, the state has not initiated a development plan that builds and grows the ‘whole state’. It is the fault of poor vision and planning.

We can argue all day long about what isn’t getting funded enough and where. But the fact remains, we must deal with the core cause of this whole issue. We must boldly develop and carryout a strategic development plan by partnering with local communities, leveraging their assets and investing in our education system and economic development.

We have entered a new era; we have left the industrial era and are in the era of biotechnology. It is time for us to shift our focus on what we will do to meet the challenges and needs of our number one resource and asset in this state: educating the young minds in this state.

I wish the residents of Iroquois luck in their deliberations… this is a very serious issue confronting the community. As Superintendent Sampson noted, “You will get only one chance to keep a school district here in Iroquois.” I hope they will chose to invest in their youth but follow it up with a strong economic plan; with or without the state’s help for now.

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