Members of the legislative interim study committee charged with examining school funding wrapped up their third session yesterday (Tuesday), concluding their look at technology’s role in education and the programs aimed at helping students graduate.
“We’re not changing education,” Rep. Kathy Tyler said about the different options available to educators. “We’re adding more tools.”
The committee is charged with examining 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.
Two-days of presentations led Rep. Mike Verchio to suggest the committee look at a change in the way schools function.
“We’ve thrown so much more into the schools,” Rep. Verchio said. “We might have to focus on what we need to do differently.”
Potentially changing the funding model was proposed by Rep. Anne Hajek.
“We may need to look at the per-student funding (allocation),” Rep Hajek said. “The funding maybe needs to change (as) a whole structure.”
Hajek suggested possibly looking at per-course funding model.
Consistent funding of the formula would be a start to fixing the financial strain on schools, said Sen. Chuck Welke.
“Consistency is a very important thing. They (schools) don’t know from year-to-year what they’re going to get,” Sen. Welke said. “We need to fund the schools adequately and let our leaders at the local level lead.”
The committee will look at the decisions of the local school district leaders at the next meeting when they examine decisions to opt-out and capital outlay flexibility.
“We have heard the good side (of education),” Rep. Tyler said. “Now let’s look at the other side; the needs side.”
The committee is scheduled to meet on Monday, September 23 at 9 a.m. in Pierre. School board members and administrators are encouraged to share their input with committee members before or at the meeting.
For updates on the funding committee, check the ASBSD Blog.