Scholarship program referenced in Gov’s State of the State
Gov. Kristi Noem kicked of the 98th South Dakota Legislative Session with her State of the State address.
While K-12 education didn’t get a lot of attention during her address, Gov. Noem did mention the Stronger Families Scholarship that she mentioned in last month’s budget address.
The Fiscal Year 2024 Governor’s budget summary book notes, “The Governor is recommending $15,000,000 in general funds to provide options for children in foster care to achieve success in their education.”
Gov. Noem stated during her address the scholarships will provide foster care parents the “opportunity to receive up to $4,000…to pay for tuition at a private school” or for other education services, including tutoring or test preparation program.
Currently, an appropriations bill further outlining the $15 million scholarship has not been posted on the legislature’s bills webpage.
“Without a bill, we don’t have the details surrounding the proposed scholarship so we’re left to interpret the program as utilizing public funding for private education and we would be opposed to that proposal,” ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany said.
ASBSD Legislative Resolution B4. Public Funding for Non-Public Education, which was passed by ASBSD members at last year’s Delegate Assembly, opposes the use of any public funds for non-public education.
“Public schools welcome foster children with open arms,” Pogany said. “They provide a comfortable and safe environment for these students and allow them to achieve their full potential in their K-12 education.”
“The funding proposed for the scholarship program could be put towards to public schools as they continue to educate the most vulnerable of students.”
Public schools could receive a 5 percent increase to state aid in 2023-24, which would put $24 million in new money into the system and an additional $15 million would push schools above the current inflation level of 6.5 percent and assist them in providing adequate raises to staff members and keep up with rising costs.
For updates on the proposed scholarship program, as well as the 2023 legislative session, check the ASBSD Blog and Billtracker page.
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