Press "Enter" to skip to content

Higher Education Days in Pierre: Students Seek More Bucks, Not Bullets

Menno Schukking, vice-president of the Northern State University Student Association, led off the Q&A at Saturday's Aberdeen crackerbarrel by asking legislators if they thought Senate Bill 181 was a good idea. SB 181 would appropriate $3.2 million to the Board of Regents and $736 thousand to the vo-tech schools to support a tuition freeze for the coming fiscal year. Schukking noted that SB 181 would be a good first step toward flipping the state support/student support ratio from the current 40/60 split to the 60/40 split it used to be.

None of the Republicans on the panel would bite. Both District 3 Novstrups, Senator David and Rep. Al, are sponsors of the bill but simpered about having to wait and see how the final budget came out. District Senator Brock Greenfield said the tuition freeze isn't a backburner item but then left it on the backburner by saying there are lots of interests to balance. Only District 1's Democratic Senator Jason Frerichs took a stab at setting priorities, suggesting that if the Governor can make a priority of spending $4 million on self-insuring state properties, we ought to be able to set a similar priority now on higher education.

Schukking is in Pierre with student leaders from campuses across the state today for the Student Federation Higher Education Days. They face a tough push on the tuition freeze, since the Governor opposes it and the Regents won't fight for it. Schukking and his young colleagues will try to get legislators to commit to the funding priorities in SB 181 and three other bills:

  • Senate Bill 91, which seeks to boost the undercapitalized needs-based scholarship created in 2013. Schukking tells me that the scholarship fund, from which Regents can only take interest, only has enough principal to generate $5,000 in interest for needs-based scholarships at Northern. SB 91 originally proposed a $200K boost; Senate Appropriations amended out that funding Friday to allow the bill to move through debate while we await budget data and legislators willing to actually set a priority.
  • Senate Bill 92 would do the same for the Critical Teaching Needs Scholarship. The commitophobic Senate Appropriations did the same thing to it Friday, knocking the appropriation from $200K to $1.
  • House Bill 1147 is Governor Dennis Daugaard's proposal to boost the merit-based Opportunity Scholarship. The Governor is willing to spend $1.274 million to cut costs for our best students by not quite three percentage points.

Not on the Student Federation's happy list is House Bill 1206, whose sponsor list is almost entirely mutually exclusive of the sponsor list of SB 181. Almost none of HB 1206's sponsors are willing to sign on to a tuition freeze as a priority for higher education, but they will sign HB 1206 to make carrying concealed weapons on campus a priority, because (a) it sounds tough, and (b) it doesn't cost the state any money... well, at least not until we have to start spackling bullet holes and hauling away bodies.

The Student Federation opposes HB 1206. Evidently they believe students are better served by a discussion of real investment in the very real problems of college affordability and student debt instead of the fantasies of every student as his or her own John Wayne or Jason Statham. Let's hope they can spend Higher Education Days talking more about green than guns.


  1. Lynn 2015.02.09

    When I was in college and we went to Pierre for Higher Education Days a well known Republican legislator from Sioux Falls walked up to me, laughed and said Higher "Education Days were a huge waste of time and we were wasting our time." My immediate impression of him was arrogant.

  2. mike from iowa 2015.02.09

    Mayhaps someone should have asked for a spell check on higher from wingnuts. Maybe they meant "hire"education as in for profit schools.

  3. Don Coyote 2015.02.09

    Ahh Vermont, the state where Obama won every county in '08 and '12. Gotta love those liberals.

  4. mike from iowa 2015.02.09

    Cory-are you cussing me in French or sumpin?

    DC-don't forget Ala-damn-bama where the former and present cheap justice of the Soopreme Court,who lost his job for disobeying federal law,once again ordered all probate judges not to issue marriage licenses after the Scotus refused to hear an appeal. He is begging to be frog marched to jail and personally,I hope he gets his wish.

  5. mike from iowa 2015.02.09

    I got it. This is one of them there ed homonym attacks Troy likes to accuse me of making. :)

  6. leslie 2015.02.09

    this democrat father of four can not understand 2d amend. mania from within the state from my fellow parents, nor from without the state from corporate interests that put safety of our young people in danger.

    i belief recent reports conclude presence of a weapon vastly increases injury and suicide from more guns, and self-protection with guns is statistically very slender proposition. this maybe fbi and/or other law enforcement data. will report back with a citation.

  7. Roger Cornelius 2015.02.09

    Thanks to the good voters of Vermont that helped twice helped elect Barrack Obama President of the United States.

  8. mike from iowa 2015.02.09

    Uh-oh,does this sound familiar to South Dakotans who care about education no matter how high it gets?

    Veteran Milwaukee blogger James Rowen, a product of the UW-Madison himself, suggested that the current power structure at the state Capitol is "fine with using the state budget to lower the quality and appeal of higher education in Wisconsin by basically privatizing the system and ending the Wisconsin Idea — the UW's guiding principle that sprang from the progressive movement against special-interest control of public policy and institutions."

    Read more:

  9. Deb Geelsdottir 2015.02.09

    I didnt know there were many stupid Vermonters. I was wrong.

    Mike is right about Walker in Wisconsin. He's gutting everything about the state that made it good. Like what Brownback has done to Kansas. Like what Republicans have perpetrated on SD's good citizens.

    Apparently Republicans don't really love chunks of the USA.

  10. Moses 2015.02.09

    hey look at Mike surplus Mike isnt he dioing a great job in pierre telling to take care of veterans Mouth piece.

  11. mike from iowa 2015.02.10

    For some reason Sinator (I just threw up in my mouth) Rounds reminds me of one of the biblical characters I read about as a kid. Someone named Pompous Pilot or something like that.

  12. Tim 2015.02.10

    an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.
    synonyms: authoritarianism, totalitarianism, dictatorship, despotism, autocracy; Nazism, rightism; nationalism, xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism; jingoism, isolationism; neofascism, neo-Nazism
    (in general use) extreme right-wing, authoritarian, or intolerant views or practice.

    Sound familiar?

  13. leslie 2015.02.10

    myth-good guy w/gun, slate 1.25.2015. sd legislator's public statement yesterday that he concealed carries and he knows he has had situations occur where he was glad he did-

    the height of ignorance and irresponsibility.

    the most restrictive firearms control states have the least murders, suicides and fatal accidents from guns. this legislator is an immature "cowboy" threatening everyone in our capitol building and on our campuses.

  14. Tim 2015.02.10

    leslie, they don't care about any of that...freedumb you know.

  15. Joan Brown 2015.02.10

    I agree with leslie about guns. There are way too many of them running around in public places instead of being used for things like hunting. The only reason I can figure out that all these people that want to carry guns all over, is that it makes them feel more macho and that goes for the women too.

    I also agree with Deb about Walker and Brownback and the Republicans in SD.

  16. Tim 2015.02.10

    It's only a matter of time before innocent people start getting shot. It looks like the legislature wants to make sure none of us know where the bullet is coming from.

  17. Deb Geelsdottir 2015.02.11

    Speaking of Walker, today's Mpls Star Tribune had an opinion piece about Walker's plan to shred higher education in Wisconsin and the general shredding that's been happening for the past decade in the US. It's very good reading supported by documentation Walker -and Daugard- would prefer to hide.

Comments are closed.