Sibby, save us! Mitchell school superintendent Joe Graves wants to run for Legislature:

Monday during the Mitchell Board of Education meeting at Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary, Graves, the school district superintendent, announced his plan to run for the South Dakota Legislature in 2014.

...Whether he runs for the House or Senate, Graves said, will partly "depend on what other people are doing," but either way, he will run as a Republican.

..."I want to be someone who can help continue to make South Dakota a free and prosperous state, as great a state as it can be," he said. "Lots of education decisions are made in Pierre. I think I can add to that process, as well" [Candy DenOuden, "Graves Wants Legislative Seat," Mitchell Daily Republic, 2013.09.09].

Yeah, add more horsehockey to the process. Superintendent Graves is a persistent Pierre sycophant, flacking for Governor Dennis Daugaard's really bad education plan in 2012 (when 97% of his fellow administrators did not support the plan), using anti-teacher arguments to fight that plan's referendum, and then saying teachers deserved a legislative screwing for having the gall to fight bad public policy that he said was good. Graves has signaled that he doesn't like the Common Core standards, but I'm thinking that's just a ploy to win some local Tea Party cred and maybe split the Steve Sibson vote (hey, they are a third of the District 20 GOP primary electorate!), not a statement of direction for real policy that a Senator or Representative Graves would vote to wreak on our schools.

The Mitchell School Board reacted cautiously to Graves's pre-announcement announcement:

Board members offered little commentary on the announcement, and board President Theresa Kriese said in a follow-up interview she doesn't know if the board will approve the plan when Graves presents it.

"We will see what Joe brings forth as a plan," she said. "We still have to review what his plan is for coverage of the district while he's at session" [DenOuden, 2013.09.09].

While he's at session—easy, Theresa: he hasn't won the election yet!

State law and Mitchell school board policy say that the board can't (and shouldn't!) stop Graves from running, just as the board couldn't stop excellent educator Mel Olson from running and serving in the Legislature from 1993 to 2004. Their approval of a plan to cover Graves's duties during the campaign and maybe during the session is not a legal prerequisite to the Graves candidacy. But Mitchell's policy does say an employee can't announce candidacy until the board as acted on that employee's written request. Graves thus must portray his signal of intent as something less than a formal announcement.

But Davison, Aurora, and Jerauld County voters, if you want education to head in the right direction, you should see if you can find some local Democrats or Republicans who might help change Graves's intent before he formally announces his desire to take his bad ideas to Pierre.