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Rapid City Opt-Out Opponents Surface; Can These Conservatives Cooperate on Referring SB 69?

I agree with Superintendent Mitchell that the Rapid City Area School’s proposed five-year, $6-million-per-year opt-out is necessary for maintaining Rapid City School programs. Three arch conservative groups do not:

Less than a week after the Rapid City Area Schools board decides to opt out, three groups vow to put the issue to a public vote; and then defeat it.

The groups announced their intentions in a release Sunday night; saying they’ve already gathered more than 400 signatures in their effort to put the opt out to a vote during the June 2 municipal/school election.

…The groups opposed to this plan are: South Dakota Citizens for Liberty, South Dakota Campaign for Liberty and Citizens for Academic Transparency.

Citizens for Liberty is the standing Tea Party group in Rapid City. I hear Campaign for Liberty is a project of Fred “Rip” Ryness, who didn’t think incumbents Jackie Sly and Scott Craig were conservative enough for District 33 and waged an unsuccessful primary challenge against them in 2014. As for Citizens for Academic Transparency, I have yet to see their credentials (although they score points for good acronym choice!).

Remarkably, all three groups have something in common with my fellow petitioners on Senate Bill 69, the petition reform bill. We agree that our voices are not being heard in Pierre. If we want lasting change, we must protect ballot access so we can elect candidates of our ilks. Citizens for Liberty and I would elect very different candidates who would take very different positions on funding for public education. We may not all want the Rapid City opt-out to fail, but we all want our candidates to have a better chance of advancing our agendae in Pierre after the referenda are done.

So I’m curious, Citizens for Liberty, Campaign for Liberty, and Citizens for Academic Transparency: when you get done challenging Rapid City’s opt-out, can you help us challenge the rules the Pierre Establishment is using to keep your allies off the ballot and out of elected office?


  1. barry freed 2015-03-31

    Cory, is there a RCAS source showing exact and individual figures on expenditures? If not, on what do you base your opinion?
    Without those kinds of figures, Mr Mitchell is saying: “Trust me”. I like to trust people, but this is business and he has never responded to requests for exact data. For example: he claims extra-curricular activities are $2 million, fine, but he has never offered the spreadsheet showing how he arrived at that figure. He has not proved any need.
    As Suze says: “Show me the money”. Without detailed and verified figures showing need, Suze says: “Denied”.

  2. Cranky Old Dude 2015-03-31

    CAT is the anti-Common Core group. They have mostly parents and a few ex-education people.

    The school district is very ambiguous when it comes to any requests for information. Their usual ploy is to ignore you as long as possible and hope you’ll go away.

    I wonder at two points here. First, isn’t interesting that this “crisis” came up just when the teachers were beginning to raise serious questions about pay and the way the system is run?
    Second, why are we paying six figures to some managerial type to run the system into a crisis in the first place?

    Public education in this country may have already passed the tipping point to uselessness.

  3. Donald Pay 2015-03-31

    Every meeting of the Rapid City Area Schools Board of Education will have agenda items on bills submitted, etc. The minutes documents all of those. All of that information is available in the minutes. The minutes are posted on the RCAS website. Nothing is hidden or left to trust, but it does take a lot of time to go through all those. Have at it, but be prepared for lots of eyestrain.

    Budgets are public documents, and are available. I didn’t see it on-line, but I didn’t spend much time looking. If it isn’t, you can go in and ask to see the budget documents. Budgets serve as guideposts and are always changing and being amended as new grants come in, etc. Budgets are adopted by the Board of Education and amended in public meetings. Again, Nothing is hidden, but it does take time to go through and understand the budget.

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