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June19

School funding study starts

Members of the legislative interim committee charged with studying school funding began their work this morning at the Capitol building in Pierre.

 

Fourteen committee members started their examination around the parameters of how the school funding formula affects a district’s decision to seek an opt-out or utilize special tax levies, funding’s effect on graduation and technology’s relation to teaching.

 

This morning, committee members heard a report from colleagues on the discussion that took place across the state at the four town hall meetings with school board members, administrators and members of the public, which were hosted by ASBSD, SASD and Committee Chair Rep. Jacqueline Sly.

 

“I was so impressed with the number of people that were there, the number of schools represented and the candor of their comments,” Committee member Rep. Kathy Tyler said in reference to the meetings.

 

S.D. Department of Revenue Director of Property and Special Taxes Michael Houdyshell discussed property assessment and taxation in the state.

 

Houdyshell covered the role of property taxes in school funding, including the provision that allows districts to seek an opt-out of the property tax limit for the district’s general fund. He noted that 73 districts utilized an opt-out in fiscal year 2013.

 

Committee members also were presented with information from past studies on K-12 education in South Dakota, which included a total of seven studies looking at everything from property taxes to teacher salaries to state aid.

 

For more updates on the study, check the ASBSD blog later today and tomorrow.

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