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LETTER: IM 25 has benefits for SD

(metro creative)

To the Editor:

I would encourage you to join me in voting YES on Initiated Measure 25 (IM 25).

We have a problem in South Dakota that IM 25 directly addresses. Tuition at our technical institutes is the third highest in the country and two times higher than our neighboring states. As a result, many of our young people are going out of state to seek a more affordable technical education. Many do not return to South Dakota and this leaves our state without the skilled workers we need to build our workforce.

IM 25 generates $20 million of new revenue dedicated to our state's four technical schools — Lake Area Technical Institute, Mitchell Technical Institute, Southeast Technical Institute and

Western Dakota Technical Institute, through an increase on the tax of cigarettes by $1 a pack.

Our tuition at South Dakota technical institutes is high because most states assist in funding their technical institutes with a local property tax levy. South Dakota chooses not to. My conversations indicate many in the education community have support for IM 25 and realize the benefits for our state. The K-12 funding issues were addressed several years ago with the half-penny sales tax increase and IM 25 is an answer to the funding concerns for our

technical institutes.

Bottom line, voting YES on Initiated Measure 25 will raise $20 million to help our technical schools lower tuition, provide scholarships and add new programs. IM 25 will keep our young people and future workforce in South Dakota — something I care about deeply. Please join me in voting YES on IM 25.

Dr. Melody Schopp

S.D. Secretary of Education (2011-2017)