Eligibility requirements could expand for private school scholarship
South Dakota’s private school scholarship program could expand should the latest bill chipping away at the program’s initial parameters continues to progress.
Senate Bill 175, which expands the student eligibility options for the private school scholarship program, passed the Senate Education committee on a 6-0 vote.
The bill would allow any students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade to receive a private school scholarship should they meet the income eligibility requirements.
ASBSD opposes the bill, as the Association did the initial implementation of the program in 2016.
“My concern is for the future,” ASBSD Executive Wade Pogany told committee members. “The bill seems innocuous enough, but it has the effect of growing the program.”
Currently, the private school scholarship program has a cap on the total amount of funding it can receive set at $2 million, but program supporter and former state legislator Phyllis Heineman told committee members this year the program would “be awarding scholarships exceeding $1.7 million.”
And while the bill’s sponsor Sen. Jim Stalzer said “at this point we’re not asking for any more money” that concern is paramount for supporters of public education.
“I am concerned about if the cap would grow…we would divert more public funds,” Pogany testified.
SB 175 now moves to the Senate floor for debate and vote.
For updates on this bill and others during the 2021 legislative session, check the ASBSD Blog and Bill Tracker page.
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