An eager reader from Vermillion sends me this odd artifact of an electronic age: a photo of a TV broadcast of a PowerPoint slide outlining the Vermillion School District's proposed budget cuts, courtesy of the atrocious state budget passed by Vermillion's state senator Eldon Nygaard and Governor Dennis Daugaard:

Vermillion School District, proposed K-12 budget cuts for AY 2012

And from a reader at the other end of my compass, front page of the latest Grant County Review, listing proposed cuts at the Milbank School District:

Milbank School District proposed K-12 cuts AY2012

(scanned from Grant County Review, Milbank, South Dakota, March 2011)

To his credit, Milbank's District 4 state senator Tim Begalka voted against the state budget that made consideration of these cuts necessary. Republican Senator Begalka saw options to cutting education... as did the otherwise nutty Rep. Brian C. Liss (R-13/Sioux Falls). (I may have to revise my rating of Liss from worst legislator to second-worst, behind my own state senator Russell Olson.)

I'll update these cuts on the Madville Times Projects:K-12 Education Cuts page.

Neither Vermillion nor Milbank is dealing with these cuts merely by cutting waste and inefficiency (though prom advisor? Yes, absolutely, gone, no problem). They are cutting opportunities for students. They are cutting jobs—8 FTE's in Vermillion, 7 in Milbank plus a lot of coaching positions. Every one of those jobs is one more person who can answer a question, one more potential mentor, one more caring adult who be there to help a kid. Even that custodian at Milbank—that's one more person who might be there when a kid needs to get a book from her locker when the building's locked, or needs a car jump-started in the parking lot after practice, or needs someone to break up a fight.

Caring adults are the best resources we can offer our kids in our schools. That's why we pay those adults the biggest chunk of our budget. The Olson-Nygaard-Daugaard-Don't-Guard-Education budget takes away those resources from our kids. And that, as I think Senator Begalka and even Rep. Liss recognized, is a darn shame.

MDL's Chuck Clement has sent out the traditional questionnaire to all school board candidates, so we five can write his news story for him. One of the questions asks what budget-balancing ideas the Madison Central School District should consider. If any of the other candidates tells you we can balance the budget just by getting rid of waste and efficiency, point them toward the above list of cuts. Then tell those candidates they're blowing smoke. 

Related: Michael Cooper, "States Pass Budget Pain to Cities," New York Times, 2011.03.23