“I was so impressed with the number of people that were there, the number of schools represented and the candor of their comments,” Committee member Rep. Kathy Tyler said.
Rep. Tyler was among the eight committee members able to attend one – or more – of the four town hall meetings scheduled by ASBSD, SASD and Committee Chair Rep. Jacqueline Sly. Rep. Sly joined ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany and SASD Executive Director Rob Monson at each meeting.
“I felt at each (meeting) they (attendees) were much appreciative,” Rep. Sly said. “It was worth my time.”
Committee members who attended the meetings shared a variety of topics that were discussed, including challenges for recruiting and retaining teachers, capital outlay concerns, solutions for funding and the state funding formula.
“There’s generally support for the formula, but they’re (educators) concerned with the funding,” Committee member Sen. Bill Van Gerpen said.
Committee member Sen. Chuck Welke said educators in attendance stressed the point they were being pushed to without consistent funding.
“The word I heard (at the meeting) was ‘crisis,’” Sen. Welke said. “Schools don’t know what we’re going to do here in Pierre. They can live with (the formula) if we fund it like we should.”
Committee members didn’t see the concerns of board members and administrators as overshadowing their contribution to the study.
“They (attendees) weren’t there to complain,” Rep. Tyler said. “They were there to state facts.”
The July Bulletin – scheduled for publication Friday, June 28 – will cover more of the comments, concerns and contributions from a town hall meeting. For additional updates from the study, check the ASBSD Blog.