In a narrow vote, K-12 education received a needed victory.
Members of the legislative interim committee charged with studying school funding voted 8-7 on Monday (Oct. 21) to support a bill that would ask the legislature to set the per-student allocation at $4,805 – the PSA’s highpoint in 2010. ASBSD has supported a return to $4,805 throughout the committee’s proceedings. To review a new ASBSD resolution supporting $4,805, click here.
“I think it’s time…education needs to be funded and this is a priority,” Rep. Kathy Tyler said about the proposed bill.
During the 2013 legislative session, legislators approved an increase of approximately $23 million – approximately $180 per student – in ongoing and one-time dollars for the 2013-14 school year.
A return to $4,805 would require a $179 increase per-student for a total of approximately $23 million in ongoing funding for 2014-15.
“I think our ultimate goal should be to get back to where we were or where we should be,” Sen. Billie Sutton.
Committee members who voted against the proposed bill were not staunchly opposed, but rather leery of where state revenue could land in the future.
“Revenue’s always limited,” Rep. Don Haggar said. “It’s not like we’re looking for places to spend extra money.”
For fiscal year 2013 South Dakota had over $24 million in additional revenue to put in the state reserve, which totals nearly $160 million.
Committee members who favored the return to $4,805 argued it was time to make up the funding lost when an 8.6 percent funding cut – costing schools more than $50 million – was doled out in 2011.
“If we had maintained the formula, we could have made our obligation financially,” Sen. Bill Van Gerpen said. “I think we have an obligation to restore our (legislators) credibility.”
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