The South Dakota Legislature’s Legislative Planning Committee completed the introductory chapter of the two year study on K-12 education and its different funding components.
Monday’s opener took on the tenor of the opening meetings for a House or Senate Education committee, as planning committee members heard presentations on the state funding formula for education, the role property taxes have in education funding and the Department of Education’s goals for education.
The testimony filled in a few pieces of a large puzzle the committee will work towards putting together over the next two years. Committee members are charged with examining the education funding formula, the revenue, expenditures and accounting practices for education, salary needs, budget reserves and tax levies.
ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany suggested narrowing the focus could be beneficial.
“I hope we get to a point where we focus on one or two big issues,” Pogany testified, adding that he hoped the committee would spend time closely examining the teacher shortage and struggle schools are having in recruiting teachers.
SASD Executive Director Rob Monson reiterated Pogany’s point by noting a survey he’d completed recently on open teaching positions found that over 200 remained open as of May 28.
“We’re struggling to find the people in the classrooms,” Monson said. “I hope that becomes a big focus of (the study).”
Committee Chairman Rep. Scott Munsterman invited ASBSD and SASD to present the topics they feel are most important for the committee to examine at a future meeting.
The committee will meet in July – a date has not been set – with capital outlay, school reserves and proposals from legislative session about other revenue distribution changes; other topics may be addressed.