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February25

Senate sends non-public school scholarship program to House

A bill that could remove up to $4 million in state funds to indirectly fund non-public school scholarships received support in the Senate.

 

Senators voted 23-12 to pass Senate Bill 189, which would provide a tax credit to insurance companies contributing money to an organization that provides funding to cover the cost of a student enrolling in a private school and for instructional supply grants for teachers, including home school providers.

 

Sen. Phyllis Heineman, the bill’s prime sponsor, said “there’s no question (the bill) would be a hit” to state funding, but added it put parental choice of schools into play. South Dakota offers parents a free public education and the option of open enrollment into any public school of their choice.

 

“Based on the revenue discussion we’re having right now…I would suggest we hold back (on passage),” Sen. Deb Peters said, adding South Dakota is seeing negative growth in key areas of tax collection and any loss of revenue could prove harmful to the state.

 

The tax credits would be distributed through the Department of Revenue and the scholarship and the South Dakota Christian School Association is taking steps to be the distributor of the scholarship and instructional supply grant program.

 

Sen. Troy Heinert said he did not “like the fact that we’re taking money that we could put into” public schools to put in the program. SB 189 now moves to the House for review.

 

ASBSD opposes the bill.

For updates on SB 189, check the ASBSD BlogBill Tracker page and Twitter feed.

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