Rep. Lee Schoenbeck (R-5/Watertown) isn’t running for reëlection, but he’s watching his Legislative baby like a hawk. Recall that Rep. Schoenbeck saved the teacher pay-raise plan last winter by amending this year’s House Bill 1182 to allocate three percent of the new half-penny sales tax to vo-tech instructor pay. Evidently the state Board of Education wants to pass rules that would spend that money on things other than instructor pay. Rep. Schoenbeck came to the board’s meeting in Aberdeen yesterday to say no flippin’ way:
“If it gets dissipated like was suggested here today, you’re going to lose it,” Schoenbeck said of the funding.
“Because the appropriators are going to figure out next year that the money didn’t go for that specific problem of competition in the private sector.”
If the money provided is more than necessary to give instructors raises, Schoenbeck asked that the schools simply not use the funds.
“It’s not a crime in any part of America to say, ‘The need to be competitive with industry is this amount, and you gave us too much money this year,’” he said. “If you take any part of it and run back into the general budget like this proposes, this program will be gone” [Katherine Grandstrand, “Members Look at Technical Institute Funding,” Aberdeen American News, 2016.05.17].
The rule change rousing Rep. Schoenbeck’s attention is in first-draft stage; it appears to be headed for public hearing at the next Board of Education meeting.