Press "Enter" to skip to content

Graves Feigns Ambivalence, Wants Fewer Darn Teachers

Last updated on 2015.02.17

Mitchell school superintendent Dr. Joseph Graves admits that he's ambivalent about Governor Dennis Daugaard's proposed summer study of education... which, for a guy who has flacked for the Governor's worst policy whims, could be read as stern condemnation.

But I'm not fooled. Graves cocks an eyebrow at the summer study, then returns to his usual form of giving us darn teachers both barrels. Check out the ink Graves devotes to thinking up ways to make sure that, even if we decide we can pay teachers more, we sure as heck won't pay more teachers:

Alternatively, there may be other options for increasing average teacher compensation levels other than the straightforward and endlessly offered by educators and their lobbyists: give the schools more so they can pay teachers more. If schools, for example, were to present more online coursework and more virtual offerings, costs would decline and current revenues could be used to enhance teacher pay. If the state were to offer tax incentives for parents enrolling their children in private schools or homeschooling their progeny, the resulting savings from more parents choosing such alternatives could be used to increase the per pupil support of students who remained in traditional classrooms [Joseph Graves, "Don't Meet Me in the Middle," Mitchell Daily Republic, 2015.02.16].

Online classes make costs decline by allowing schools to cut teachers from the payroll. Ditto Dr. Graves's private/homeschool scenario: incentivize draining public school enrollment, force public schools to lay off teachers, then split the savings between the remaining public school teachers and the ongoing subsidies for largely religious education. Graves is simply roadmapping a plan to increase pay for fewer teachers and further weaken one of the few bastions of labor power and intellectual opposition in South Dakota. It's policy dreck but political genius.

But since teachers like me call his proposal dreck, Graves says we're to blame for political resistance to higher teacher pay:

Yet educators don't typically endorse such proposals, leaving us open to the criticism that we endorse only the idea of giving us more money with no changes in how we do things and no rules on how we spend it. This view of educators is reinforced by the fact that we have had our hands out to the Legislature, demanding more money, every year since Dakota was a territory [Graves, 2015.02.16].

I'm curious, Dr. Graves: what do we have to change to justify our continual requests not to be last in the nation in teacher pay? What extra work do teachers do in Minnesota, Iowa, Wyoming, and Montana to earn more pay than teachers in South Dakota? What new rules must we adopt from every other state in the country that would finally warrant pay parity?

So is that image of our state's educators as woe-is-me mendicants due to the fact that we are starving, or because we are mulish monoliths refusing to engage in more efficient means of serving students? [Graves, 2015.02.16]

Short answer, Joe: we are starving. If your long alternative were correct, we would have to accept that we monolithic mules have been uniquely wasteful for our state's entire history, and that our Legislature and school boards have responded not by rooting out that waste and hiring good, efficient teachers but by simply depressing teachers wages to the lowest level in the nation. In Graves's excuse-iverse, South Dakota's leaders must be more interested in standing in the mud whipping their mules than in buying good horses and getting to town.

Dr. Graves wants to address the teacher shortage by getting rid of teachers. I unambivalently reject his plan and mulishly stick my own: fix the teacher shortage by paying teachers more.


  1. Lynn 2015.02.18

    Why do I get this feeling that the Governor's Blue Ribbon Education panel is going to be stacked with others like Dr. Graves a Republican whom if circumstances were changed would be serving in the legislature now?

    Will this panel be just for show to only move the needle slightly while sticking to their policy of minimal funding for education?

  2. Tim 2015.02.18

    Lynn, this study will do what all of the others do, lay any blame on teachers and the districts. It's also a great stalling tactic. Try not to pull a groin laughing when you see who they put on this "Blue Ribbon" panel.

  3. Mike Henriksen 2015.02.18

    I love his use of the word "schools" in the first paragraph you quote. What he means is "teachers". "Schools" don't actually do anything. People do.

  4. Pat Richardson 2015.02.18

    Does Dr. Graves forget from whence he came? He, too, was teacher at one time and having been a teacher should, of all people, have more empathy for those in the profession.

  5. Roger Elgersma 2015.02.18

    School boards in South Dakota decide to pay Superintendents much more than last in the country so that the superintendent will recommend that the teachers get less so the school board can succeed in not spending much money.
    When I was in high school in Minnesota in the early seventies, the Democrat run legislature passed a bill that the state would reimburse the Christian school parents thirty percent of the tuition they paid. (Conservative and Liberal are not constant definitions. Over time they can change a lot.) The difference there was that they first paid the public school teachers enough before deciding to spread the money out to others.

  6. Rod Hall 2015.02.18

    Thank heaven teachers, that Joe Graves is not in the legislature even though he made three different feeble attempts to be a legislator. His record of tax and spend is disgusting. Without a public vote, Graves filled the school swimming pool with gravel. Graves had the football stadium destroyed and rebuilt for $3 million when reliable investigations showed it could have been refurbished for $600, 000, all without a vote. Old Longfellow school was destroyed before it was paid for and replaced it with a new fancy $10 million+?? building without a vote. Now Graves is going to build a Fine Arts Center for $13.5 million plus $4.5 million interest all without a vote. How does Graves do it? Capital outlay is at the maximum! Oh yes, Graves did have a vote once. That was to have an opt-out for $700,000. Rev. Deacon Graves and Rod Hall knew that the opt-out, if passed, would be forever. Graves said the board would "look at it in 5 years!" The voters believed him even if Rod Hall said it was permanent. Mitchell still has the permanent $700,000 opt-out.

    How can Mitchell School afford an $18 million Fine Arts Center? It can't! After 4 years of planning behind closed doors for a stand alone facility, last October an entirely new plan was presented to a group, of according to The Daily Republic, of about 20 people. That 20 included: Mrs. Joe Graves, Rod Hall, 5 board members, business manager, Joe Graves, 2 persons that spoke in opposition and perhaps some from the media and few others. More than 100 chairs were set up for the "expected participants!"

    Now naming rights are being touted again. Last time not a nickel was raised. We now hear that the motels would fill empty rooms, eating places would make money, bars would profit and gas stations would sell more gas! That is a real project for a public school! This Fine Arts Center is planned for a blighted part of Mitchell and if built would transform the area. If this is to make Mitchell a neater city with a new fund raising center why does the city of Mitchell not build it?

    With the city planner on the Mitchell School Board for longer than Graves was sup't the answer is rather clear. Simply put if Mitchell builds it, Mitchell taxpayers pay for it. If the school builds it all the rural taxpayers and farm land owners will be taxed at the maximum rate for the next 20 years along with the Mitchell city taxpayers.

    The huge crowds that come to Mitchell and spend their money will profit the city of Mitchell. The sector outside of the Mitchell City limits will gain little. It will be "taxation without representation for the next 20 years.

    The Daily Republic made a suggestion that there should be one or better yet, several general meetings to let the public really know what is going on. To day there has been not one general public meeting. Bids will be opened later this week! Dirt will "fly" very soon. Mitchell City will have another "cash cow!"

  7. Lynn 2015.02.18

    Will Mitchell have the best High School Fine arts center in the state now or until another medium to large SD city build something better?

    What will happen to the Mitchell Pepsico Community theater that is in the old Balloon museum?

  8. Curt 2015.02.18

    Perhaps Dr Graves should re-visit Article 8, Sec 1 of the State Constitution. It provides that "it shall be the duty of the legislature to establish and maintain a uniform system of PUBLIC SCHOOLS (emphasis added) ... and adopt all suitable means to secure to the people the advantages and opportunities of education." I understand the legislature chooses not to adopt a strict constructionist interpretation of this particular section, but to actively undermine the existing system of public education would be a stretch - even for them.

  9. Curt 2015.02.18

    Please remind me to avoid purchasing anything in Mitchell.

  10. larry kurtz 2015.02.18

    Please remind me to avoid purchasing anything in South Dakota.

  11. Curt 2015.02.18

    Might be a challenge for you Larry next time you plan on crashing a state party convention.

  12. larry kurtz 2015.02.18

    Might be a challenge for you, Curt next time you plan on being a gigolo in Mitchell.

  13. tara volesky 2015.02.18

    Lynn, Mitchell HS will have the largest, most expensive and only stand alone fine arts center in the state of SD, while the HS continues to deteriorate and Gertie Belle grade school overflows with students. Maintaining buildings and addressing teachers salaries is not an issue in Mitchell. It's all about their FAC that will be built with capital outlay, taxpayers money. All I can say, if you are going to build something that extravagant, build it downtown or out by the interstate. Since when do we give the superintendent and school board the authority to build special interest projects. Apparently the $4 million dollar renovation of the worlds only corn palace isn't good enough.

  14. Lynn 2015.02.18

    Tara was the high school pool Olympic size for competition? What were the issues that led to filling it in?

    That new FAC is right on the campus of MHS right?

    Will the local community theater use the new FAC then?

    I can see Dr. Graves fitting in quite well with the super majority right now in Pierre.

  15. tara volesky 2015.02.18

    Lynn, the pool at the middle school was a competitive pool that hosted many swim meets. It doesn't make sense to me that one would fill a perfectly good pool that was utilized by so many people. I believe the main reason the was filled in because Dr. Graves said he couldn't afford it. Now the city is going to pick up the tab on building a $9 million dollar competitive pool. Do you see any logic here? Can't afford to maintain the pool, but can afford a $19 million dollar FAC.

  16. Lynn 2015.02.18

    Tara it leaves me puzzled without knowing more facts.

  17. tara volesky 2015.02.18

    Maybe the blue ribbon panel needs to address the fact that administrators are paid 24th in the nation and SD is 39th for money per student while the teachers are 51st in the nation. Also, the panel should be made up of teachers.

  18. tara volesky 2015.02.18

    Lynn, Mr. Hall is a former state Senator also a former school board member. He is much more knowledgeable than me. Wear are you Rod? Lynn needs more facts.

  19. o 2015.02.18

    When Dr. Grave writes, "If schools, for example, were to present more online coursework and more virtual offerings, costs would decline and current revenues could be used to enhance teacher pay." I believe he is opening the door for a legislative discussion on consolidation. Smaller schools have the unique problem of staffing positions because often a full-time content teacher is unwarranted for the class load in an individual small school. Some have combined staffing needs to share teachers across districts. What Dr. Graves suggests is something that has been kicked around since technology became more prevalent in SD schools: use the communication technology to provide virtual teachers to virtual classrooms of students. Certainly this is a far more efficient use of resources, but it undermines the justification for local schools.

    I do not want to put words in his mouth, but "efficiency" seems like a practical first step toward consolidation or elimination of rural schools.

    I would also caution against the belief that virtual class rooms allow super-mass education of students. The needs for differentiated instruction, thoughtful feedback for individual students, and building of relationships all are powerful contributors to the success of students. Concerns about reasonable class sizes apply to the physical classroom as well as the virtual.

  20. MD 2015.02.18

    Don't worry about raising teacher pay in South Dakota, if we keep it as is, teachers can continue to qualify for means tested aid programs!
    It is sad that we have teachers that have worked 35 years in the same school district that are making less than the average teacher salary in some of our neighboring states.
    The nest that I am making in the northern half of the Dakota Territory is seeming much warmer. When I left for grad school, all I saw was myself coming back to South Dakota, now that I can take an outside in look, I realize more and more that this may not be where I want to raise a family.

  21. Rod Hall 2015.02.18

    The last time the voters of the Mitchell School District voted in favor of a major building program was to build the then Junior High now the Middle School. The purpose of the pool at a school was not to compete with the Olympics but to save Mitchell students from drowning in Lake Mitchell. The swimming pool was voted for to save lives of Mitchell students. That is a worth purpose of public education. Size isn't that important unless you are into 50 Shades of Grey!

  22. Craig 2015.02.18

    Dr. Graves: "If the state were to offer tax incentives for parents enrolling their children in private schools or homeschooling their progeny[...]"

    Yes by all means let's recommend tax dollars be shifted towards stay at home moms so they can teach their kids whatever they wish with no requirements just so we can save a few bucks and (in theory) divert an extra $75 to each remaining teacher.

    Let's see... the average teacher has four years of undergrad work, hundreds (perhaps thousands) of hours of continuing education, is either on the way to obtaining a graduate degree or already has one, and in many cases they have credits well in excess of what is required for said graduate degree.

    On the flip side, the average parent who is home-schooling their child has a high school education, zero formal training on teaching, and a list of distractions including infants and toddlers that require attention, loads of laundry that need to be folded, a lawn that needs mowing, bills to be paid, an episode of "The View" waiting on the DVR, grocery shopping to be done, Christmas cards to mail, an hair appointment scheduled for 2:00pm, and Fido barking that he needs to go outside for the 7th time today.

    Obviously that is a gross generalization, but actually does align with many if not most parents who home school. I've seen it first hand. Many home schooling parents don't do this because they are more qualified to teach children or because they know more about the subject matter than the collective group of educators who would teach that child... most often they home school because they don't want their children taught about evolution, or about sex education, or they don't want them to learn Biology and what the difference is between a zygote and a fetus, or they want to replace science and history courses with three hours of religious instruction that portends to explain how the world came to be without the need to bother with details like fossils, the expansion of the universe, or quantum theory.

    Trust me, the average public school student is much more well versed about the world around them than the average home schooled student even if their standardized test scores don't reflect it. Add to that the fact the public school children are more social, more adaptable, and have had much more experience with groups and team building and you quickly see why home schooling is generally a bad idea.

    Yet we have a Superintendent trying to suggest this is a solution to raising teacher pay? Does the man realize fewer students may equal fewer teachers which equates to a smaller school system which thus suggests less responsibility to the administration? In short - fewer employees and few students equals less pay for Dr. Graves.

    Not only does he provide evidence that he failed logic, but he doesn't appear real strong in math either.

    Nevermind the fact that Graves seems to suggest "schools" can make all of these amazing cost saving changes but yet seems to have forgotten that he is the Super in charge of making these big decisions. Graves doesn't need the legislature to approve his cost cutting ideas nor does he need to wait until a teacher or "school" sends him a formal proposal. He has the power to put his ideas into action, and if those ideas have any merit he shouldn't have any issue getting the school board to approve.

    Then again letters like this one may me wonder if the school board is actually paying attention... because if they were they might be asking for a resignation.

  23. Lynn 2015.02.18

    Rod I realize it's off topic but I'd argue that the size of a pool would matter if it will be a multi-purpose pool given the expense and an investment a community will spend already. Olympic sized means it's a standard 50 meter length pool that can be used for competition besides teaching valuable water safety classes and have the pool available for recreational open swim and other programs such as water aerobics.

    I'm trying to understand Dr. Graves spending choices realizing I don't have all the info. Property taxes do seem a little high in Mitchell given the size of city it is.

  24. tara volesky 2015.02.18

    Lynn, Mitchell property taxes are right at the top in SD, and they keep going up with our tax and spend local and school officials. I believe the pool was a 25 meter 6 lane competitive pool similar to towns of Mitchell's size. An Olympic pool would be 5o meters and 8 lanes. My understanding is, the new $9 million dollar pool will be 25 meters and 8 lanes. Correct me if I am wrong.

  25. Badger, Out! 2015.02.18

    Does the Ninth Commandment (You shall not bear false witness ...) address the need for public officials to always share all of the facts and the whole truth with all of the people all of the time? How the hell can trust and respect be earned when public officials seem to lack the integrity, honor, candor and courage to do so 100% of the time? Evidently, the Ninth Commandment does not apply to the Elitists who refuse to place all of their cards face up of the table for all taxpayers and voters to evaluate. Too damn many Elitist who are master fabricators of bullarchy enriched propaganda that is fortified with misleading partial truths and twisted facts.

    Is the depth of one’s faith directly dependent the height of the steeple and resounding echo chamber of the church a person attends? Is the quality of a high school football program determined by aesthetically pleasing appearance of the modern stadium? Is the quality of a high school fine arts program tied directly to the ornate style and grandiose footprint of the theater and stage? Apparently, Elitist with overinflated self-evaluations of their individual self-worth believe the answer to the above three question is without question – YES!

    Evidently and apparently, the Elitists have lost touch with the real world all the rest of us second class citizens live in -- one of continuously increasing taxation without any real representation! Does Elitist Decree #1 state that taxpaying slaves will pay for the Taj Mahal Fine Arts Center? Does Elitist Decree #2 state that what the outcasts don’t know can’t hurt us? Fine arts center price tag $13.5 million? With minimal donations, FAC bond interest $6 million? Seeking $5.5 million in FAC donations? Capital outlay inadequate to fund FAC? If FAC donations are minimal, would a public vote be needed to approve a $5 million FAC bond issue? Is FAC footprint too grandiose? Does common sense say earmark $8 million in capital outlay funds to renovated MHS for the benefit of all students with a smaller footprint FAC added to the south-side of MHS?

    When capital outlay election statutes were enacted for public school districts, did a handshake and promise mean something to everyone; even to the Elitists? Today, are public school superintendents and their rubberstamping school boards being provided excessively large dollar amounts of capital outlay funds every year which Elitists have the discretion to spend on ornate, grandiose monuments without having to seek approval to do so from second class taxpaying slaves? Current assessed valuations of all Ag land, commercial and residential property in a school district are how many fold higher than back in the day when the 3% maximum of assessed valuation was enacted?

    How many cash reserve slush funds have been secretly created over past decades; time to reduce the maximum allowed amount to be held in each cash reserve fund and create local revolving fund to be used exclusively for increasing teacher salaries?

    For more than a decade flapping jaws have promoted a MSD 17-2 Circus of Hypocrisy. Badger “It” Out!

  26. Taunia 2015.02.18

    jesus threw the money changers out of the temple.

    Baring teeth with a christian-ripped-off commandment of basic humanity does not elevate your argument that you dislike arts, humanity and education, and you don't want your money spend on them, Badger.

    Also, switch to decaf. Good, fantasy writing skills, however.

  27. Curt 2015.02.18

    Let's go back to the days of statehood - when our constitution was drafted. There is a reason Article 8 was important in 1889 and continues to be so. What existed before public schools? Primarily 'home schools.' Wise people recognized the need for a strong system of public education. That need still exists - perhaps never more so. One is left wondering about a system that retains a superintendent who seems to question its inherent value.

  28. Rod Hall 2015.02.18

    We can go back to our Founding Fathers who established the Satan Deluder Act which made it possible for all kids to read (the Bible) and delude Satan. About a hundred years later those persons who established the SD Constitution specifically stated that the state must provide a uniform education. At both times the peoples' right to vote was basic to all actions. In the Mitchell School District voting on these multi million dollar building projects has been abandoned. The republican dominated legislature has passed bills taking away the right to vote in too many school issues! Hitler established a huge dictatorship while the people and churches slept. It is past time for the people in Mitchell to wake up, open their eyes, use their heads and demand public involvement and the right to vote. The people will support well planned, necessary programs if they are for the vast majority of students rather than small cliques and down town businesses.

    Dictators are not needed in the schools!

  29. tara volesky 2015.02.18

    I would think the school board and Dr. Graves would want the public to be involved enough to have open debates and discussions. If they really believe this FAC will benefit all of the students, than why wouldn't they welcome a vote.

  30. Badger, Out! 2015.02.18


    The biggest "money changer" is still in the temple at the alter during the late afternoons Saturdays in Mitchell, SD.

    With regards to you other remark "... you dislike arts, humanity and education, and you don't want your money spend ("spent") on them ...?" We will forgive and forget that your uninformed thoughts trickled down from your grey matter onto your keypad.

    Evidently, Elitists are having issues with our straight shooting in-your-face facts? Apparently, Elitists prefer sugary-sweet disingenuous South Dakota Nice? Sorry, but such is not in our DNA! Contrary to your above bliss, here are few biographical facts:

    I am the son of two former Mitchell educators who were grossly undercompensated during their years of service. My wife and I were 4th generation Mitchell residents for 50+ years; both of us graduated from MHS. My wife removed her name as a member of HFCC due to Deacon-Supt Joe's comingling of religion-based favoritisms in employee hiring and promotion decisions; along with other school functions. I placed my name on the ballot four times as a school board candidate objecting to Supt Joe's Circus of Pew-status and Last-name Hypocrisy. I have BS and MBA college degrees; with a taste of law school under my belt. We have 37-combined years of military service with countless hours of military leadership courses and firsthand experience practicing the art; my wife was a musician and a former unit administrator with an army band. We are self-employed owners of a 30-year old insurance business; tens of millions of dollars have been paid to claimants through our agency. We are the parents of two sons who graduated from MHS; oldest loved marching band, jazz band, concert band, plays, musicals and show choir; and the youngest loved athletics. Facts not fiction: Supt Joe violated our youngest son's due process rights; and stole his 4.0 GPA along with his athletic dreams as the control freak tried to silence our voice of opposition; we refused to obediently and submissively shut up and lie down; retired and current teachers, along with school board members know exactly what was aimed by Supt Joe at our son.

    Our MSD 17-2 school property taxes payable in 2015 are $1,733. We have a vested right to object to an Elitist clique continuing to spend our tax dollars on their damnable special-interest monuments without first asking for our approval to do so with no representation.

    With minimal donations having been secured and given the projected $19 total cost of the FAC over a 20-year term; the honorable thing to do would be to delay approval of all FAC construction bids until approval to build the FAC is secured by a public vote.

    Unfortunately, that is not how Supt Joe greases the skids before he rolls in Mitchell, SD. Gut-check and smell-test say, "FAC will be built the Supt Joe's way with cloaked secrecy, deceit and dishonor! You, all have a nice day!

  31. Lynn 2015.02.18


    Who are the Elitists?

  32. Owen 2015.02.18

    How about we get back to what Cory post is about

  33. Badger, Out! 2015.02.18

    Over the past four decades, the only Board of Education approved resolution the voters within Mitchell School District 17-2 have been allowed to vote on was the perpetual and permanent opt-out authorization to increase property taxes by up to $700,000 annually which created a potential slush fund in maintaining K-12 educational programs in existence at that time. Supt Joe Graves recommended the board approve the opt-out resolution; the April 2002 ballot question did not contain a time-period limitation.
    Over the past four decades, the voter approval was not sought for any of the following: (1) Sold Eugene Field and Whittier schools, (2) Sold school administration building; (3) Demolished Litchfield and Longfellow schools; (4) Demolished historic JQF stadium and filled in the MMS pool; and (5) Built new Longfellow school and JQF stadium. Now the school board is planning to spend about $19 million on a grandiose Fine Arts Center without a public vote.
    Recommend circulating a petition with MSD 17-2 voters requesting a South Dakota Legislative Audit be performed to thoroughly evaluating District K-12 compliance with generally accepted accounting practices, procedures and internal controls with regards to all District Capital Outlay funds. Have funds been floated in inappropriately from other District funds to cover Capital Outlay funding shortages? Have the books been cooked in any manner?
    What does the math say? Current total assessed valuation of all real property within the District is about $1 billion. Maximum amount of Capital Outlay debt allowed is about $16 million (16%). Maximum annual Capital Outlay funding for the District is about $3 million (3%). Total balance owed on District Capital Outlay lease and bond obligations is how much? Total annual installment payments on District Capital Outlay lease contracts and bond debt is how much? How much addition Capital Outlay leverage is available to fund building a Fine Arts Center? How much in unencumbered Capital Outlay annual revenues would be available to service FAC bonding debt? How much of a first-year down payment is the District going to make on the FAC project? Has Supt Joe shared the answers to the above questions in a forthright and transparent manner with all of the taxpaying slaves residing within the District?

  34. Taunia 2015.02.18

    "...Supt Joe violated our youngest son's due process rights; and stole his 4.0 GPA along with his athletic dreams as the control freak tried to silence our voice of opposition; we refused to obediently and submissively shut up and lie down.."

    95% of the rest of Badger's posts need deciphering. Someone indulge me?

    Also, he sounds like Annette Bosworth who, btw, must be making her defense attorney wish he was representing Al Queda instead.

  35. Taunia 2015.02.18

    I forgot to add above:

    Badger's has a personal grudge going on.

  36. Rod Hall 2015.02.18

    Too many see Dr. Graves in his deacon's robes kissing the altar at Holy Family Church. Cory, has shown by his blogs, that there are many very different opinions of Graves when he does not have the undivided attention of 500-600 persons attending mass at Holy Family.

  37. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.02.18

    Curt, thank you for that reminder of our obligation to provide public schools for everyone. Graves proposes a plan that deliberately strips public education down to a system that serves only a fraction of the population.

  38. Badger, Out! 2015.02.18


    Try rebutting all the above non-professional Supt Graves traits with facts instead of spewing your blissful swill! Next, ask which of the 54% of registered DEM/NPA/ID voters would want such a control freak who promoted the regressive HB-1234 agenda to serve on a "Blue Bonnet Panel" of ultra-conservative appointees wearing tunnel vision blinders trying to reinvent their big wheels and make them rounder before giving classroom teachers the red hot poker one more time. Graves on the panel is simply confirmation it'll be another lip service task force just like the Old Guard's Davison County ballot counting task force investigation and the subsequent passive cover up circus. Same old bull -- just another task force for another day of smoke and mirrors propaganda!

  39. Donald Pay 2015.02.18

    Graves is unrealistic in a number of ways.

    Rapid City piloted on-line learning one year for about 14 students who volunteered to take part. The district couldn't afford to add costs to do it, so some parents with some pull got Janklow to fork over $100,000 to test it out. The benefit to students was that learning was individualized. Students could go at their own pace. However, every subject wasn't covered, so students still had to attend some classes in regular high school.

    Anyway if you do the math, the cost was over $7,000 per student when the district average back then was considerably less. And I don't think that includes the courses the students picked up in regular high school.

    Some of the students dropped out of that program, but most thought they benefited, and we would have liked to continue the pilot program. However, the district couldn't justify the cost, and with Janklow not funding a second year, it didn't happen.

    Now I'm sure there are out-of-state outfits that will throw bad internet curriculum at you, and charge less. Just like the testing Graves was pimping for a couple years ago, there are always people out there ready to take your money and give you garbage.

    If you limit it to smart, driven kids, they can probably find a lot of the content they need on their own on the internet or library, but they still need labs, discussions, etc. Reading Shakespeare is one thing. Acting it out with others makes it real.

    Graves other point is just nuts. The state refuses to tax itself for one school system, and he thinks they will agree to tax for two. Hey, Wisconsin went down that path, and it's a failure. Now there are two lobbies scrambling for state tax dollars instead of one, and neither is adequately funded.

  40. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.02.19

    Badger, Taunia is simply attempting to redirect the conversation to the public policy analysis that Donald offers. We don't need to address any of Dr. Graves' other flaws to establish that his prescription for public education is in fact inimical to public education.

  41. Badger, Out! 2015.02.19

    We refuse to sucked into discussing such disingenuous South Dakota Nice garbage that Deacon Joe pitched in his TDR column/sermon. Never going to "Fix Stupid" with front-pew South Dakota Friendly. Supt Joe's lack of integrity, honor, candor and courage as a public official and his bureaucrat gamesmanship tactics need to addressed with in-your-face vigor since such bull will be the common thread that will promote the "Blue Bonnet Panel" agenda.

    The flipped his lid irrational garbage pitched throughout Supt Joe's front-pew column was caused in part by our no-holds-barred Feb 14 LTE discussing his past hoodwinking facts and his proposed Fine Arts Center "Monument" - our doing so elevated the control freaks blood pressure causing him to ink his irrational thoughts.

    Elitist public official prototype character flaws such as this need to be publicly discussed and evaluated in order to restore democratic governance in our public schools, city halls, courthouses and state house. Responding with analysis and rebuttal of the crap Supt Joe flushed in his column is exactly what the power brokers hope all DEM/NPA/IND voters continue to respond with - it is a sucker play - it is baiting the hook - get opponents to be distracted by nonsense proposals instead of grinding on the real problem facing education in this ultra-conservative backwards state.

    We no longer has democratic governance and a creditable system of checks and balances due to the political regime which now controls all statewide offices; supermajority in house & senate; and has had the keys to the governor's mansion for nearly four decades while continuously appointing cronies to fill judgeship vacancies while approving election statute and regulation changes promoting the regime's special interest agendas.

    Cory, instead of just talking the talk according to the control freaks who believe everyone must speak and walk as approved by and in accordance with the directives imposed by those who hold the power, who have all the right answers, who know what is best for everyone, who continuously refuse to compromise on every issue; since June 5, 2012 we have walked the walk documenting how absolute power corrupts and passively covers up embarrassing facts and evidence of wrongdoing with impudent task force panels and investigations.

    The issues facing education in "The State Where All of the People are so Friendly and Honest" will continue "as is" until our broken election process with its lack of integrity and non-creditable outcomes are publicly exposed tattooing the partisan bullarchy to the backsides of the public officials responsible for aiming it and the associated acts of intimidation (threats of reprisal).

    How do we do so? Exercise all first amendment rights with amped up mojo and indisputable facts. Cory, check out the facts we are sharing with the public in TDR's Feb 21 edition - paid business advertisement next to editorial page "Fifth in the Series of It Happened Ads" - sharing the facts in 17 ads each Saturday illustrating how the Old Guard rolls in South Dakota - final facts written and to be shared on Armed Forces Day on May 16. Time to get back to work. You all have a great day.

    Badger, Out!

  42. Badger, Out! 2015.02.19


    Forgot one item for you and your Super Hero Joe to consider -- please comply -- you both can just KOA -- both cheeks please!

  43. larry kurtz 2015.02.19


  44. Rod Hall 2015.02.19

    Cory, inimical or hostile best describes Graves' position on public education.

  45. tara volesky 2015.02.19

    Rod Hall is a Boss. We can learn so much from him.

  46. Rod Hall 2015.02.20

    Mitchell Supt. Graves and Mitchell's Puetz Corporation have been planning, under the "radar" for about 5 years a too expensive and too big fine arts center. Only Puetz and one other contractor bid on the project. That should scare the sh*t out of the Mitchell taxpayers. The bids came in over $2.8 million over budget. That was 24% over what was expected. The Puetz Corporation has had plans for Mitchell's Fine Arts Center copyrighted since 2011. The rather elite and secretive committee may know how to make music but they know little about building in Mitchell. It is time for The Daily Republic to act like a Mitchell business and the Daily Republic must now hold several general public meetings that are not dominated by Supt. Joe Graves. The taxpayers must be involved in this huge unnecessary expenditure when other taxes are being increased from the township, city, county, state and nation!

  47. tara volesky 2015.02.20

    Rod, I was to by a few local and out of town contractors that the reason they won't waste their time bidding on Mitchell building projects is because they know who's going to get the bid.

  48. Badger, Out! 2015.02.20


    When bids came in 27% over the initial cost estimate for the new JQF Stadium, Supt Joe's rubberstamping school board disciples obediently and unanimously approved the inflated construction costs and the new stadium was built. New stadium now has serious water leaking and potential mold issues similar to the historic stadium. Historic stadium could have been repaired for less than $500,000. Price tag of new JQF project was $3 million - $2.5 million of the taxpayers money was flushed building a stadium that did not have a ticket booth to secure cash nor a exhaust fan in the concessions area to allow for grilling onions, dogs and burgers.

    Now taxpayers are being asked to just "TRUST US, WE OW WHAT IS BEST FOR EVERYONE IN MITCHELL". With construction bids for the proposed grandiose Fine Arts Center 24% above initial cost estimates, we did not find a TDR published statement quoting Supt Joe recommending both bids be rejected during the next school board meeting. Why?

    If MSD 17-2 has honorable school board members serving, then the next two actions taken by the board should be: (1) Reject both bids; and (2) Approve a board resolution asking the voters within the District to approve a ballot question asking "Build a MHS FAC with a maximum price tag of $13.5 million?" Yes or No.

    Not a snowballs chance in hell of the latter happening with Mutton Joe and his rubberstamping school board disciples orchestrating their Circus of Hypocrisy at MSD 17-2. Need new ring master and five new board members who can do the math and will promote the common good and majority rule, instead of Elitist Mutton Rule.

  49. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.02.20

    Badger, at the point where you tell us to kiss your backside because we are talking about one issue that affects the entire state and you prefer to co-opt the conversation to discuss your hobbyhorse issue, you run the risk of getting the Sibby treatment. If you want me to listen, you will want to start treating my people and my comment section better.

    Now, do you have anything to say about how we go about raising teacher pay?

  50. Badger, Out! 2015.02.20

    Cory, "Blue Bonnet Panel" just more pipe dreams and lip service crap being pitched - Graves on the panel confirms it! Buy a copy of TDR's Feb 21 newspaper - read our 5th in a Series of "It" Happened - next to editorial page; after doing so you too may see the light!

    As for you cowardly "Steve Sibson Treatment" threat, trust us when we say we will never be cowed by such impudent intimidating threats of reprisal. Your words mirror those aimed our way by the ultra-conservative power mongers who have absolute power over all governance in this state. Based on your birdshot threat, have to ask are you a "LINO" who is secretly promoting the GOP's regime of deceitful propaganda with infinite topics and issues of discussion which will not changes the status quo?

    We have known Steve Sibson and his extended family members for decades - all honorable South Dakotans with the guts to boldly stand up and fight for what they believe in. Steve has courageously stepped forward and publicly addressed the Old Guard's good ole boy and girl absolute power and control facts. You may not agree with his views on issues, but the man is salt of earth and genuine in his beliefs.

    So if the cowards on your thread wish to compare us to an honorable man like Steve Sibson, please by all means bring it on and we'll respond with in-your-face vigor void of all "South Dakota Nice" protocols -- never tucked tail and run from a confrontational exchange of words and facts in our lives.

    Badger, Out!

    You hav

  51. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.02.20

    Is that the editorial We or the royal We?

Comments are closed.