Last week I noted that Governor Dennis Daugaard appears to be asking us to increase the number of people working for state government at a slightly higher rate than he is restoring funding for education. The Governor's office responded that the real growth rate of state full-time equivalents over the last three years under Governor Daugaard's proposed budget is just 1.5%, not the 4.6% I claimed by comparing current requested FTEs with past actual FTEs. Compared with the 3.8% increase in general fund expenditures on education, 1.5% FTE growth is not so bad, right?

A document circulating among my education friends offers a different comparison, based on per-student funding (whoops! hit the rotate button, bottom-center of screen!):

This document adds the standard per-student allocation provided by the K-12 funding formula and the one-time money directed to K-12 in each budget. In Governor Mike Rounds's final budget, FY2011, the state allocated $4,804.60 per K-12 student. In FY2014, Governor Daugaard wants to spend $4,625.65 per student. That's a decrease of 3.7% in how much he's willing to spend to educate each child compared to Mike Rounds's last valuation of K-12 education.

Here's another comparison: Governor Daugaard is recommending a total per-student increase of 0.8% over last year's budget. Meanwhile, he is recommending a 7.0% increase in FY2014 general fund expenditures on state employee salaries over what he recommended last year. Looking at recommended FTE levels for FY2013 and FY2014, that's a 6.1% increase in per-FTE spending from the general fund.

0.8% more per student; 6.1% per state employee. I welcome readers to identify the unique economic needs that have arisen this year for the people Governor Daugaard hires that have not arisen for teachers and parents trying to educate their kids.