The chances of schools seeing an increase in state aid were buoyed by last week’s adopted revenue projections.
Members of the Joint Appropriations committee adopted revenue projections for Fiscal Year 2021 $19 million higher than what was projected by Gov. Kristi Noem during her budget address in December, which did not include a proposed increase in state aid.
State law requires schools to receive an annual increase in funding of three percent or inflation, whichever is less and inflation for FY21 is at 2 percent, which would cost around $20 million in additional, ongoing state funding, to fund state aid, state employees and medicaid providers.
“Revenue projections coming in $19 million higher than anticipated is encouraging news,” ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany. “There’s a long ways to go before anything related to state aid is decided and getting up to a 2 percent increase in state aid is going to be a big lift.”
“Schools are in a better place than before and we’ll need board members and administrators to help us advocate for an increase in state aid.”
Appropriators heard revenue projection presentations from the South Dakota Bureau of Finance and Management (BFM) and the Legislative Research Council (LRC) with the largest difference in each’s Sales and Use Tax projection, as LRC’s projection outpaced BFM’s by nearly $14 million.
“The most discussion was on the Sales and Use Tax,” Rep, Jean Hunhoff said of the debate around revenue projections, adding that the committee “concluded what we felt was reasonable” in terms of projections.
Those leftover dollars may result in more difficult decisions around where money will be allocated, but there’s still four weeks of legislative session left for those decisions to be determined.
“We have a ways to go,” Pogany said. “It will be an uphill battle, and one we’ll need all school officials to get involved in, but there’s additional revenue out there and other possible options for legislators to tap into.”