Knudson, Merchant, now Chris Studer: get set for Democrats to swing the big stick of HB 1234 and elements of the anti-education agenda of their Republican opponents!

"I want my kids to grow up in a state that cares about education, that cares about quality of life, that cares about each other," he said. "I think we need to do better; we can do better."

...In the 2011 legislative session, school districts saw funding reductions of 8 percent, although with an infusion of one-time money it was actually 6.6 percent, he said.

The Associated School Boards of South Dakota, however, said the state has lost nearly 500 jobs in K-12 public education.

"Our school districts were hurt, our kids were hurt, our administrators were hurt and our future was hurt," Studer said.

Public universities also took huge hits, with SDSU losing much of its Extension service. County offices were closed or consolidated.

"The reason that we are where we are in agriculture today is because of research and education and it was slashed," he said.

...The controversial HB 1234 that opponents are trying to refer to a public vote in November could pit teachers against each other as they seek to receive bonuses and merit pay. Teachers aren't in the profession because of the money but because they love teaching and kids, but Studer and other opponents of the bill worry they may no longer collaborate in their schools [Roger Larsen, "Studer Says Education Is Key to Future," Huron Plainsman, 2012.04.09].

Studer's opponent for the District 22 Senate seat, current GOP Rep. Jim White, voted for HB 1234 this winter. Twice. Have fun running on your record, Jim.