The legislative interim committee charged with studying school funding concluded its work this month by voting their support of variety of proposed bills and resolutions.
Five of the proposed bills that received support from the funding committee prompted ASBSD to draft new resolutions for our member districts to review and vote on at Delegate Assembly.
A. Achievement & Equity
7. Teacher Salaries
ASBSD supports a long-term commitment by the legislature to raising teacher salaries.
South Dakota is ranked 50th in the nation in average teacher salary. Our schools are losing quality teachers to different careers and /or not receiving quality applicants for open positions because of low salary options. Legislators have heard the concerns and must commit financial resources to improve salaries.
B. Local Governance
7. Extended School Year
ASBSD supports legislation that would extend the school year by two days (or 5.5 hours per day) each year over a five-year period provided that state funding covers all operational and salary expenses for the additional days.
Districts can utilize the additional days for educational purposes as they see fit and would receive additional funding to be determined by the legislature.
C. School Finance
ASBSD supports legislation that would return the per-student allocation to its 2010 high point of $4,805 for the 2014-15 school year.
A return to $4,805 would provide the funding stability that was lost due to the funding cuts in 2011 and symbolize legislative support for K-12 education.
8. Capital Outlay Flexibility Reduction
ASBSD opposes gradual reduction of the percentage of capital outlay dollars a district can use to supplement its general fund, as granted by law.
The flexibility granted in 2013, which will expire on June 30, 2018, is consistent with the purposes of capital outlay, allows for local control over locally generated funds, and frees up much-needed general fund resources. A proposed timeline would reduce the percentage of capital outlay dollars being used for general fund expenses to 40 percent in FY ’15, to 30 percent in FY ’16, to 20 percent in FY ’17 and 10 percent in FY ’18, without a plan to replace the lost funding used by as a supplement by districts.
9. Two Percent Index Factor
ASBSD supports proposed legislation to provide South Dakota’s public schools with the statutorily required per- student funding at a minimum increase of two percent each year, with the possibility for a greater increase to be provided.
A funding formula change that provides school boards with a minimum guaranteed increase of two percent gives school boards a solid monetary figure to begin budgetary planning before the conclusion of the legislative session, with the possibility for a greater increase to be provided.
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