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Legislature to blame for schools' financial woes

The education crisis has deepened with those opposed to "opting out" forcing the issue to a vote and with the district and teachers now at impasse over salaries. As the parties square off against each other, the real culprits, our legislators who caused the crisis by inaction and neglect of their constitutional responsibly, go unscathed.

They could have instituted a modest income tax with revenues dedicated to education, and/or they could have decreased the number of school districts, thus savings millions in educational costs. They chose to do nothing, as they have for the last 50-plus years, resulting in keeping our teachers the lowest paid in the nation for those last 50-plus years. It’s time for teachers statewide to serve notice that if the Legislature does nothing toward adequately funding education in the next two years, teachers across South Dakota will not sign their 2017 contracts.

With teacher pay so low that even a $2,000 raise would still leave them in last place, schools districts could never find replacements and thus would need to close until the Legislature fixed our funding system. The days of legislators saying, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a …” need to end.

— Lou Leahy, Spearfish

Kooiker has kept the lid on city spending

Sam Kooiker has done and will continue to do a great job as mayor of Rapid City. Under his leadership, he has kept city expenses under budget so there has not been a need to raise taxes. There will be $32 million spent on redoing some of the city’s aging sewer and water lines.

It was Sam who said the voters should decide if there was a need to redo the civic center. He has been a friend to all the people of Rapid City, and he is always ready to listen to concerns voiced by them and will do all he can to make sure those concerns are addressed, including making sure that sidewalks have cut away corners so that people in wheelchairs are able to use them. He always has been an advocate for the disabled in Rapid City.

For these reasons and many more, I urge you to vote for Sam Kooiker again for mayor and keep him doing a good job as mayor of Rapid City.

— Laree Adkins, Rapid City

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Wright deserves re-election to City Council

It is typical if not traditional for a candidate for public office to profess great love and pride for his city. Perhaps that is the easy part. What is less acknowledged is how very difficult it can be for a person working from a sense of concern and pride for his hometown to stay focused on what is good or needful for the city when so many of us observers criticize and complain.

We believe that Jerry Wright, running for city councilman from Ward 3, demonstrates a clarity of vision, courage of decisions and actively illustrates a thoughtful and fair approach to all issues facing the council. Does he have great love and pride in Rapid City?

 Of course, this is his hometown and he is a product of it. But those feelings were not produced just for campaigning. They have formed Jerry Wright, the businessman, the city employee, the member of the military, the city councilman. We believe Jerry Wright is the best candidate for Ward 3 councilman.

— Cathie Draine, Black Hawk

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