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March05

Funding front and center in final week

The final week of legislative session got underway on Monday without a major decision made.

 

Last week, State Economist Jim Terwilliger and LRC Chief Fiscal Analyst Fred Schoenfeld presented appropriators with an updated picture of state revenue and a decision was expected on which set of projections to adopt. Appropriators, however, postponed the decision until today.

 

Monday wasn’t without progress though, as House Appropriations committee members passed or deferred a variety of K-12 related funding bills.

 

One-time funding for K-12 introduced

 

House Appropriators took the first step in providing one-time dollars for school districts with amendments to two bills – Senate Bills 90 and 138.

 

Appropriators attached amendments to each bill for $5.8 million in one-time funds for K-12 schools and $200,000 for CTE programs. The one-time funding for K-12 education would result in $45 per student.

 

SB 90 would revise the General Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2013 and SB 138, which was previously a vehicle bill, calls for an appropriation to enhance education by revising the General Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2013.

 

“This is a really good sign for schools,” Executive Director Wade Pogany said of the proposed on-time appropriation. “ We’ll wait to see how things shake out with funding, but the proposal is encouraging.”

 

SPED levy amended

 

Committee members voted to amend the property tax levies for the special education fund set in Senate Bill 15.

 

Levies were initially proposed to be raised by $0.15, but appropriators changed the increased amount to $.05. In the current version, levies would be set at $1.25 per thousand dollars of taxable valuation for the qualifying level and $1.45 for the maximum level.

 

Rep. Dean Wink (29) said the amendment is “just to keep (the bill) in play.”

 

S.D. Chief Financial Officer Jason Dilges said if SB 15 did not pass the state would have to pick up the dollars lost or the proposed increase for the per-student allocation would be decreased.

 

SB 15 also allows school districts to use up to 15 percent of their special education fund dollars to identify K-12 students who need additional academic and behavioral interventions and caps the Extraordinary Cost Fund at $5.5 million.

 

ASBSD is monitoring the bill.

 

Levy bill advanced

 

The vehicle bill for schools to receive the proposed three percent increase was passed on by appropriators.

 

Senate Bill 28 adjusts property tax levies for the general fund of a school district with the commercial levy at $9.163, up $0.535, decreases the agricultural levy by $0.24, to $2.082, and increases the owner-occupied levy by $0.25, up to $4.279.

 

“(SB 28) is needed to provide the three percent increase,”Terwilliger testified.

 

ASBSD is monitoring the bill.

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