District 4 House candidate Fred Deutsch is torqued:

Remember the post I put up a few days ago about the other two Republicans running in District 4 receiving smut-mail (Tim Begalka and Jim Gilkerson) and saying I anticipate it is only a matter of time until you receive smut-mail about me too? Well, today it happened. The smut-mail arrived. Complete fabrications and lies. The piece attempts to create fear that I have an agenda to close small schools -- the truth is 100% the opposite. The truth is -- I am 'already' talking to superintendents, school board members and teachers from across District 4 on how we can enrich and strengthen our small schools. The truth is -- I am already working with education advocates across the political spectrum (including democrats), yet this piece and the two for Begalka and Gilkerson all show a return address of the SD Democratic Party. This is so sad [Fred Deutsch, Facebook post, October 30, 2012].

Smut-mail? Fred Deutsch shirtless and in his bike shirts? Hubba hubba!

Alas, no such thrills. Deutsch is simply facing the publication of evidence that he supports small-school consolidation. According to two of my sources, Fred Deutsch sent the following missive to the Legislature in February 2011:

I'm out the door to Washington to visit with our congressional delegation about federal education issues, but wanted to drop you a note before I go. The governor has said it's better to take our budgetary medicine all in one year rather than suffer the death of a thousand cuts. Perhaps it would be helpful if that same philosophy was taken toward education. To me, it seems the education bills working through the system this year are like a thousand cuts &ndash they are just prolonging the suffering. My take: the problem isn't that we don't have enough revenue; the problem is we have too many school districts. The number of schools our state maintains is a luxury from an era that no longer exists. If the governor and the legislature can summon the political will to reduce educational funding by 10%, surely, somehow, someway, our legislature can find the political will to reduce the number of districts to a number we can afford to adequately fund. Until you do that, it's death by a thousand cuts. With greatest respect for your difficult decisions and your commitment to our people, I remain, most sincerely,

Fred Deutsch
Watertown School Board Member

Hmm... if someone says Fred Deutsch favors consolidating small schools, that doesn't sound like a complete fabrication. It sounds like a simple restatement of his own words.

It may also be a policy discussion worth having. Do we overstretch our dollars by maintaining too many school buildings and school districts? Does South Dakota have a fiscal obligation to pull back, let some small schools and small communities die, and concentrate its resources on larger communities?

I'm open to that discussion. However, Deutsch's coveted District 4 voters in Florence, Henry, Clear Lake, Revillo, Waverly, South Shore, Big Stone City, Toronto, White, Volga, and Elkton may not.