Tech board budget request a 'wish list'

I was disappointed to read your criticism of the state budget request by the new Board of Technical Education because it was based on a misunderstanding of how the state budget process works.

The Board's request is best described as a "wish list" – a prioritized list of funding increases the Board would like to see the technical institutes receive. The Board’s request gives the governor and Legislature a menu of options to consider within funds available. Board members know that technical institutes are unlikely to receive the entire 14 percent increase to fund all of the items in the request. To give a recent comparison, two years ago, the Board of Regents request totaled a 14 percent increase. The Legislature approved a 5 percent increase. That would be a typical example of this process.

Finally, the editorial board was mistaken to link the request to the creation of the new Board of Technical Education. This request was based on a strategic plan for funding the technical institutes adopted in 2015. The nature of the technical institutes' requests has not changed; a new state board is now making that request on their behalf.

Dana Dykhouse, chair

SD Board of Technical Education

Schools headed in right direction

Having just finished my first week on the Rapid City school board, I wanted to take a moment to thank the people of Area 5 who elected me, and the many volunteers who helped make that happen.

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During the campaign, I knocked on more than 600 doors and had hundreds of conversations with the people of Rapid City concerning our schools. I learned that my constituents care greatly about the success of our schools. Our district is headed in an extremely positive direction. I met the senior administrative team this week, and they are a passionate, energetic, caring group of individuals. They made me extremely optimistic about how our schools can improve.

Be on the lookout for the unveiling of the district’s new strategic plan in early September. And please, stay engaged with our schools. The district will need the support of the entire community to reach its goals.

Christine Stephenson

Rapid City

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