Members of the ASBSD Board of Directors met for the first time in 2015. The board met on Monday, Feb. 16, one day in advance of ASBSD’s Legislative Day.
Board members reviewed key legislation and happenings from South Dakota’s 99th legislative session.
After much deliberation a majority vote of the board resulted in a decision to support a potential change to capital outlay, likely coming in the form of House Bill 1207.
HB 1207 comes after nearly a year’s worth of negotiating between the governor’s office, legislators, representatives from the ag community and educational groups, including ASBSD.
Government officials claimed a potential taxpayer revolt was on the horizon and thus an adjustment to capital outlay was needed. Many members of the Board of Directors noted taxpayer complaints had not reached them.
The change proposes limiting revenue growth on the capital outlay fund to three percent or inflation, whichever is higher, plus new construction.
“I think (the plan is) penalizing those (districts) who have been fiscally responsible,” ASBSD President Denise Lutkemeier said.
The proposed plan would provide a $72 ongoing increase per-student to the education funding formula for the 2015-16 school year, which, with the $96 increase proposed from Senate Bill 53, could bring the PSA to $4,949.
“The $72 will stay in the base of the funding formula,” ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany said. “It’s not a one-time increase.”
Pogany told board members it’s been made clear to him by other parties the $72 increase would only be available in a proposal passed this year. Potentially including discussion of the capital outlay levy to Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s proposed Blue Ribbon Task Force has not gained much steam, said Pogany.
In addition, the plan would institute a base levy for capital outlay of $1.50 per $1,000 valuation with schools beginning the next school year at their 2014 levy, but being ratcheted down gradual based on the limit on revenue.
“One size does not fit all,” Board Member Todd Thoelke of Sioux Falls said about the plan.
The bill would include a mechanism for school districts to opt-out of the levy for funding above $1.50 per $1,000 of valuation.
There is a potential provision that could be added to the bill, which would make the current flexibility offered to school districts to use capital outlay dollars to pay for certain general fund expenditures permanent by 2018. Making the flexibility, set to sunset in 2018, permanent would come in a step down method, capping it at 20 percent.
Pogany informed the board there is no guarantee compromise language will be accepted and there’s been discussion to go with Senate Bill 7, which would cap the levy and limit growth only, without any addition to the PSA or institution of permanent flexibility, if no compromise can be reached. SB 7 was tabled earlier in session.
“If this is the best that can happen, we’ll accept it,” Board Member Leroy Hellwig of Sisseton said.
The meeting wasn’t solely focused legislative topics, the board celebrated President Lutkemeier’s birthday, which was on Sunday, Feb. 15, the day prior to the meeting.
The Board of Directors also:
- Discussed potential sample school board policies.
- Reviewed the components of ASBSD’s Mission: Partnering. Advocating. Leading.
- Received ASBSD’s financial report from Chief Financial Officer Bill Lynch.
- Heard a report from President Lutkemeier on the Executive Committee’s trip to Washington, D.C. for NSBA’s Advocacy Institute. The group met with Rep. Kristie Noem and Sen. Mike Rounds in their offices at the Capitol. Check out pictures from the group’s trip on the ASBSD Facebook page.
- The Board of Directors will meet again on April 24-25 in Keystone.