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February14

News and notes from Wednesday

Senate votes to extend sunset

 

A bill to extend the sunset date on capital outlay flexibility passed through the Senate on a 29-6 vote.

 

Senate Bill 194 would extend the provision allowing school districts to use capital outlay funds for certain insurance, energy, utilities and motor fuel costs to 2018. The provision, which was introduced in 2009, was set to expire in 2014. ASBSD supports the bill.

 

Bill sponsor Sen. Bill Van Gerpen (19) pointed to the growing number of schools utilizing the flexibility from 29 in fiscal year 2009 to 102 in 2012.

 

“That says to me we have a real crisis in our schools,” Van Gerpen told fellow Senators. “At our current rate, two-thirds of our schools need this to pass.”

 

Sen. Larry Rhoden (29) noted that a one-third of schools didn’t have capital outlay and were “in a lurch” when it came to funding flexibility.

 

“We are not providing equal opportunity for all of our students,” Rhoden said.

 

Van Gerpen noted that massive cuts made by the legislature to school funding “led to this crisis” and urged Senators to pass the bill. With its passage, SB 194 now heads to the House.

 

No change to small school adjustment

 

Senate State Affairs committee members voted 7-2 to defer Senate Bill 197 to the 41st day.

 

SB 197 would have provided the small school adjustment to a district for an open-enrolled student, if that student’s home district received the adjustment and would not have provided the adjustment to a small school district if an open enrollee came from a district that did not receive the adjustment.

 

Gov. signs flexible spending accounts bill

 

Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed House Bill 1064, which allows school districts to implement flexible spending accounts as part of health insurance plans, into law on Tuesday. HB 1064 is the first bill that ASBSD has been tracking and updating to be signed into law.

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