Rep. Spencer Gosch (R-23/Glenham) has saved Herried School District from consolidation. Yesterday Governor Dennis Daugaard signed Gosch’s House Bill 1215, a bill crafted specifically to exempt Herreid from the statute forcing school districts with 100 students or fewer to combine with neighboring districts.
Herreid is the only school district with an attendance center in Campbell County. The other three districts serving Campbell County—Mobridge-Pollock, Eureka, and Selby—bus Campbell County kids to schools in other counties. Due to a silly feud that most local kids didn’t care about, Herreid refused to consolidate with Pollock in 2008, when its enrollment was 132. Pollock merged with Mobridge, leaving Herreid to dwindle to 113, including four homeschool kids. Herreid will graduate eleven seniors this year; its elementary classes currently average eight kids.
Former Rep. Charlie Hoffman from Eureka tried to save Herreid in 2009 with a similar bill exempting any district that runs the last remaining school in a county from consolidation. However, then-Governor M. Michael Rounds vetoed it, saying county boundaries are “arbitrary” and shouldn’t have any bearing on where we draw school district boundaries or force consolidation.
Gosch appears to have escaped a veto from Rounds’s successor by including the criterion that a lone county school exempted from consolidation must be “at least twenty miles away from any other attendance center.”
Given that Governor Daugaard also signed the state budget yesterday, we should note that the Herreid exception will ultimately cost the taxpayers some money. 109 kids (not the homeschoolers) count toward Herreid’s state funding. As a school under 200, Herreid’s state aid need is calculated based on the minimum student-teacher ratio of 12.0. Thus, the FY2018 figures Herreid needs $6,852.59 per student. The same is true in Eureka and Selby, which each have fewer than 200 students. Closing Herreid and sending its kids to neighboring districts would save between 9% and 20% of Herreid’s current $747,000 annual K-12 need:
- Consolidate with Eureka: save $66,975.66.
- Consolidate with Selby: save $110,293.17.
- Consolidate Mobridge-Pollock: save $149,386.56.
- Split kids among all three (36 to Eureka, 36 to Selby, 37 to M-P): save $69,321.18.
Note that the three-way split wouldn’t save any money in the Eureka third, since 36 kids going to Eureka would only raise Eureka’s enrollment to 189, keeping their teacher-student ratio at the minimum/most costly 12.0. Plus, any kids going to Eureka have to put up with Charlie Hoffman, and the cost of that burden is incalculable.
Gosch might have saved the school from consolidation but did no favors for those students in that school. Small enrollment equals small opportunities. Do those students a favor and consolidate so they can take advantage of more opportunities.
What is the value of the town itself? Does it offset the higher tax burden that the district will be saddled with to keep the school open? If the district taxpayers are okay with that, then the town and the school will be saved for the time being. If the districts tax payers are not okay with that, then Mr. Gosch will then be called gauche and will be booted out.
So Cory cares more about money than he does family and the local community.
I am glad you finally exposed yourself.
I care about public education, family, and community. I make no claim to any moral hierarchy here. Jason simply manufactures a false attack. I simply take an account’s look and point out how much it costs to stand up for our values and sustain public schools with state support in the communities in question.
Our Legislatures and Governors have already made clear that their respect for family and community has its limits and that they will put money over those values when a school sinks below 100 in enrollment. Do you propose, Jason, that we eliminate the forced consolidation law and allow public schools of any size to receive full public funding?
The only people who voted against HB 1215 were six Republican Senators—Bolin, Jensen, Otten, Nelson, Peters, Soholt. Jason, are you saying those six Senators have exposed themselves (ha ha—I see the game you’re trying to play with Google search language there) as enemies of family and community?