The future of capital outlay generated a spirited discussion at last month’s ASBSD Delegate Assembly.
Read more about Delegate Assembly here.
A majority of delegates from 81 member districts voted to approve a new resolution – C9 Capital Outlay Compromise – that supports a potential compromise with elements that could benefit school districts should levy growth be limited.
Members of ASBSD Board of Directors voted to endorse the resolution at their November meeting, as well.
The introduction of the resolution came after months of discussion between members of a work group formed by the governor’s office consisting of legislators and representatives from various education groups, including ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany and First Vice President Eric Stroeder, on the growth of the capital outlay levy.
Furthering the need to clarify the stance of ASBSD on the capital outlay issue, members of the South Dakota Legislature’s Ag Land Task Force voted to support a proposed bill that would limit the growth of the capital outlay levy of a school district to 3 percent or the change in CPI-W, whichever is a greater.
The work group and proposed bill passed by the Ag Land Task Force came to be amid claims of complaints by tax payers the Governor’s office and legislators were hearing.
“School Board members tell me they haven’t heard these concerns about capital outlay,” Pogany told Delegates during Assembly. Despite the lack of complaints to school boards on the matter, the potential cap on the capital outlay levy will move forward, said Pogany.
“We’re reacting to this today because we know the potential for legislation is real and it’s present,” Pogany said. “This resolution would give me direction on legislation with this (potential) compromise.”
The resolution approved by delegates reads, as follows:
“ASBSD supports an agreement on potential legislation that would freeze capital outlay levies at their 2014 level provided the following provisions may be included in the legislation:
- An added, ongoing increase to the per-student allocation of $72 per-student;
- Set the capital outlay levy base freeze at $2 per $1,000 of taxable valuation;
- Allow school districts wishing to levy up to $2.50 per $1,000 of taxable valuation the option to hold public hearings to approve capital outlay certificates and not make the decision referable to a public vote;
- Allow school districts wishing to levy between $2.50-$3.00 per $1,000 of taxable valuation the option to seek an opt-out through public vote;
- Allow school districts to utilize unused portions of levies below the spending cap;
- Repeal the capital outlay levy freeze in2021;
- Permanently establish capital outlay flexibility at 25 percent in 2018 after its gradual reduction over a three-year period, beginning in 2016.”
Pogany told delegates that the negotiation process remains fluid and the points in the resolution are not guaranteed to be included in potential legislation, leaving the door open for opposition by ASBSD should a deal fail to be reached and the bill have damning results for school districts.
With the future of capital outlay still uncertain, it was the belief of the majority that it’s best to stay at the negotiating table.
“We feel it’s important, going forward, to work with our legislators to get (a) better (deal),” ASBSD President Denise Lutkemeier said.
ASBSD will continue to play an integral role in negotiations and provide updates on potential legislation as they become available.