Soft Underbelly of Education Spending

Well, the Argus Leader now has it’s list of state employee salaries that it wanted so bad, salaries that were already available upon request, I might add.

So what does it tell us?

1. $370,992. Matthew Clark, state investment officer, South Dakota Investment Council
2. $365,000. Rodney R. Parry, dean and professor, Sanford School of Medicine
3. $302,000. Robert Perry, executive director, Board of Regents
4-5. $300,000. James Abbott, president, University of South Dakota
$300,000. David Chicoine, president, South Dakota State University
6. $287,600. Charles Ruch, president, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
7. $251,831. Anthony M. Gerdes III, professor and director of the cardiovascular research institute, Sanford School of Medicine
8-12. $247,217. Hartley Alsgaard, psychiatrist, Department of Human Services
$247,217. Steven Cochran, psychiatrist, Department of Human Services
$247,217. Maged Estafan, psychiatrist, Department of Human Services
$247,217. Brad Kleinsasser, psychiatrist, Department of Human Services
$247,217. Ramesh Somepalli, psychiatrist, Department of Human Services

While the media spin machine instantly kicked in to rationalize/minimize the damage, I nevertheless find it interesting that six of the top 11 income earners listed were in the educational field with which the media is so infatuated.

You have a group of schools in South Dakota who are suing another branch of our government to get them to fork over more taxpayer money because they just don’t have enough money. Apparently somebody in the education establishment isn’t short on money.

Would it help our education funding situation if we weren’t paying administrators and paper pushers several hundred thousand dollars? You could squeeze several more teacher salaries out of all that, or a raise for all teachers at the very least.

A point I made a few months ago in my Rapid City Journal column is that too much of those education dollars aren’t making it into the classroom. Higher education administrators don’t seem to be hurting, though.

I don’t want to make more of this than it’s worth, but still I find it interesting that in attempting to harass a state Republican administration, the Argus Leader has exposed the soft underbelly of education spending.

(Side note: the head shrinkers on this list aren’t doing too bad, either)

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