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January21

Appropriators assess aid adjustment again

South Dakota legislative appropriators took another look at the proposed state aid adjustment that would add the cost of school technology, assessment and the sparsity factor to the formula.

 

Department of Education Director of Finance and Management Tami Darnall rehashed the plan, and its estimated cost, with appropriators a week after S.D. Bureau of Finance and Management Commissioner Jason Dilges discussed it with them.

 

Adding the cost of school technology, assessment and the sparsity factor to the formula means local taxpayers will help fund statewide initiatives, which Darnall said is “no different” than the small school adjustment or limited English proficiency dollars currently included in the formula.

 

“It’s (including initiatives in formula) something we’re already doing, honestly,” Darnall said.

 

Rolling the three initiatives into the formula would save the state $2.6 million, said Darnall.

 

The adjustment is also the vehicle that drove Gov. Daugaard to propose a two percent increase to state aid for next year instead of the statutorily required 1.5 percent increase, which is the rate of inflation.

 

A two percent increase, which both Darnall and Dilges informed committee members would raise the owner-occupied levy by $6.60/$100,000 of valuation, would bring the per-student allocation to approximately $4,877 for the 2015-16 school year.

 

At $4,877, the PSA would eclipse its 2010-11 peak of $4,805.  The following year, as part of wide spread budget cuts, the PSA was cut by $415, dropping it to $4,390.

 

Sen. Scott Parsley asked where the PSA would be had the cut not been handed down. An estimate calculated by ASBSD, based on the rate of inflation each year, approximates the 2014-15 PSA at $5,268, which is $487 higher than this year’s PSA of $4,781.

 

PSA chart

 

For updates from legislative session, check the ASBSD Bill Tracker page and Blog.

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