Lawmakers have filed legislation to allow payments to sparse school districts to continue.
Senate Education Chair Cooper Garnos, R-Presho, and Rep. Kent Juhnke, R-Vivian, are prime sponsors for SB 88, a measure that would eliminate the sunset clause originally put into the 2006 legislation that created sparsity funding.
Senate Bill 88 serves two purposes. Not only will the bill trigger critically important sparsity payments for the state's most rural schools, the legislation also ensures districts serving sparsely populated areas won't be forced to consolidate.
South Dakota's minimum enrollment law, established in 2007, exempts sparse schools from the 100 student enrollment floor. If the law is allowed to sunset, the exemption goes away, essentially shutting K-12 education out of the state's most rural areas.
The bill is scheduled for debate tomorrow.