The bipartisan bill aimed at enhancing economic development in South Dakota had its first hearing on Monday in front of the House State Affairs committee.
Senate Bill 235 would create the Building South Dakota fund, which would in turn establish the Workforce Education fund.
Thirty percent of the dollars in the Building S.D. fund would be appropriated to the Workforce Education fund to provide a 25 percent increase in state aid for ESL students, funding for CTE programs and potential dollars for education programs preparing students for the workforce.
“It’s time for K-12 education to be involved in the economic development conversation,” Executive Director Wade Pogany testified. Pogany added that the education community hasn’t been as involved in economic development as it should have been and noted “a solid K-12 education” solidifies the concept.
Sen. Corey Brown (23), a sponsor and developer of the bill, said SB 235 “creates a framework for economic development” in South Dakota and added “education is tied to economic development.”
An amendment is likely to be introduced for the education portion of the bill, said Sen. Brown. The amendment could put a sunset date on the ESL funding provision to transfer from the Workforce Education fund to the state’s general fund, but a timeline was not specified.
Sen. Brown noted the bill would provide “repetitive one-time dollars” for school districts, which he said would serve an ongoing purpose.
“There really is no shortage of needs or areas our K-12 schools could spend dollars in,” Sen. Brown said.
For updates on the bill, check the ASBSD blog and bill tracker.