Superintendent probed for ‘scam’ involving homeschoolers

A public school superintendent in South Dakota was being investigated for an apparent “scam” involving local homeschoolers after he offered them a “free” laptop computer in exchange for their attendance in his district for a single day, according to the Home School Legal Defense Association.

The Argus-Leader in Sioux Falls reported the “offer” from Tri-Valley School District Supt. Mike Lodmel was to homeschoolers, explaining he wanted the children to spend one day in public school “and go home with a new laptop.”

The invitation was for Sept. 29, the day the state counts school attendance for calculating the state tax payments that go to each district.

He candidly told homeschooling families he wasn’t trying to get them to abandon homeschooling.

“The more students that attend school on this day means more funding for our district and less of a tax burden on our patrons. It’s also a way to help our home-school families with a no-cost lap top that can be utilized for your child’s education, if you choose to do so,” he wrote.

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He called it a “win-win for both our district and our homeschool families.”

HSLDA, which found out about it when alarmed parents contacted the organization, concluded there was nothing technically or legally out of bounds for the families.

“This offer poses no problem of a strictly legal nature,” explained Scott Woodruff, the organization’s point person for the state.

However, he explained there are issues for parents to consider.

The governor’s office erupted with a rebuke, calling the move a scam and asking Lodmel with withdraw it, which he did.

“The governor views this as a tactic to try to scam the state funding formula,” said Tony Venhuizen, the governor’s chief of…

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