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Daugaard Budget Drives Kraai Family from South Dakota

South Dakota loses another job and another family, thanks to Governor Daugaard's budget cuts. Madison High School vocational-agriculture teacher Henry Kraai announced his resignation Friday. His wife Jill Kraai worked as a gifted instructor at Brandon Valley. Her position disappeared, says Madison superintendent Vince Schaefer, due to the state's drastic cuts to K-12 education. Jill has landed a job in Waterloo, Iowa, and Henry, quite sensibly, is going with.

Henry Kraai appeared in these pages back in March, when he appeared at the Madison Central School Board hearing on the defeated new gym and high school renovation plan. He said he really didn't care about the proposed new gym (quite likely the mindset his gym-hungry bosses wished more gym opponents would have adopted). He focused on the difficulties he faced in teaching a class of 35 freshman how to weld when he could only run six welders in his cramped classroom shop. He questioned whether the community was really committed to providing all kids, including his, the opportunities they deserve. he said he and his wife "don't bitch and complain about what we get paid... we're not here to make a million dollars."

But when his wife can't make any dollars here, when her employer is forced by the state to eliminate opportunities for gifted students, Henry Kraai has to do what's best family and leave South Dakota.

Madison High School thus now has a month and a half to find fill that gap with a qualified teacher who will come to our community, not complain about the pay, and make due with Governor Daugaard's permanent new norm of education on a frayed shoestring budget... a budget that just cost South Dakota one more family.


  1. Michael Black 2011.07.12

    Gifted programs disappeared locally a long time ago. It's not surprising that her job was cut due to budget constraints.

    I don't remember having an abundance of welders in my ag class at MHS.

    People come and people go at jobs. If everyone stayed at their current position, their would be no turnover and no chance for improvement. Maybe the new ag teacher will invigorate the vo-ag program. We don't know.

    I wish the Kraai family great success in their future in Iowa.

  2. David Pappone 2011.07.12

    Just for the record: Jill Kraai did not lose her job in Brandon Valley. She resigned from her position (for 2011-12) as a third grade teacher on July 11th.

    That would seem to negate the premise of this blog entry.

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.07.12

    Superintendent Pappone, that would seem to negate the premise of the statement superintendent Vince Schaefer made to the effect that the gifted position was eliminated due to state budget cuts. The May 23 Brandon Valley school board agenda indicates Jill Kraai was to be transferred from gifted instructor position to third grade instructor. Is there still a gifted instructor position?

  4. Nathan Nash 2011.07.12

    Your blog suggests that since Jill "can't make ANY dollars here" (emphasis mine), she and her husband decided to move. Regardless of whether her previous job is available or not, it sounds like she was given an opportunity to make money as a third grade teacher and chose to resign instead.

  5. David Pappone 2011.07.12

    Brandon Valley scaled back on Gifted Program but still has offerings at the elementary and middle school levels. The district ended up cutting one teaching position due to the state aid cuts, but no one ended up losing a job due to staff attrition.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.07.12

    Is that lost teaching position a gifted instructor position, or is there a new person doing the job Ms. Kraai was doing before the third-grade switch?

  7. David Pappone 2011.07.12

    The Gifted Program did not lose a position and, yes, the remaining program responsibilities are being covered by another employee.

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.07.12

    Wow—then it sounds like you're right, Supt. Pappone, and that Supt. Schaefer and I read the situation wrong. I'm probably already verging into personnel matters that stay in executive session, so I'll understand a "No comment" to any further questions. But I'm curious: did Kraai request the transfer from gifted to third grade, then change her mind? I'll have to ask the Kraais if this move was simply a matter of finding better pay or other conditions in Iowa. I'm also curious

  9. Roger Elgersma 2011.07.12

    When I attended Southwest Minnesota State in Marshall they could pay ten grand more to the best young professors to take them away from SDSU. In critical areas where good profs are hard to find that is noticable on the program if you are a student. Some departments the profs do not have similar opportunities in industry so there is less competition for the good ones. I have attended four colleges and universities so I can see the difference. Most have great accolades about themselves but most have not seen another school so do not know the difference.

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