In his budget address today, Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s commitment of a three percent increase to K-12 education funding went above and beyond the statutory requirement.
“In September, (revenue projections) didn’t look very good,” Gov. Daugaard said during the address. “Fortunately, the situation has changed. I can propose a three percent increase for K-12.”
Gov. Daugaard said revenue projections received in September showed $41 million coming in, but he said nearly $63 million was needed to provide the 1.6 percent increase (established by CPI-W) to K-12 education, Medicaid and state employees.
State law requires an increase of three percent or the CPI-W increase, whichever is less.
Revenue from unclaimed property receipts exceeded $125 million, which allowed for the three percent increase to be provided, said Gov. Daugaard. No one-time money was proposed for districts.
The proposal is a step towards stemming the tide of troubling times. Our districts have struggled to rebuild a steady funding base following cuts, but consecutive years of three percent or more increases in funding would help put a solid foundation back in place.
Now, the K-12 community turns its attention to the 2014 legislative session and advocating for a return to the per-student allocation’s previous high point of $4,805, which requires only .8 percent on top of the proposed three percent increase.
“These are dollars our districts need to provide a well-rounded education for their students and save local taxpayers from having to bear more of the funding burden,” ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany said. “As the demands on our schools pile up, our districts have had to look to their local taxpayers more frequently to take on funding responsibility through opt-outs.”
A three percent increase would set the per-student allocation at $4,765 – a total bill of approximately $9.7 million for the state.
An increase to $4,805 would cost the state only about $5.2 million more than was proposed by Gov. Daugaard.
School leaders championed a return to the PSA’s highpoint of $4,805 during the legislative interim and members of the legislative committee studying education funding voted to support a proposal that will send the $4,805 proposal as a bill to the entire legislature.
“We’ll continue to advocate for a return to at least $4,805,” Pogany said. “It is essential for our legislators to build on the proposal made today by Gov. Daugaard.”