An increase in state aid for next year and one-time money for this year remain in play after the adoption of revenue figures.
On a 14-3 vote, Legislative Appropriators adopted revenue figures for Fiscal Year 2022, which total $1.834 billion in revenue and is more than $30 million above what Gov. Kristi Noem proposed in December when she also proposed a 2.4 percent increase in state aid for public schools.
The figure was not one that came easy as Sen. Bryan Breitling noted the committee asked to reach an agreement on the figure “struggled to come to these numbers.”
Appropriators heard presentations from the South Dakota Bureau of Finance and Management and the Legislative Research Council, which differed in their proposed FY22 figures by nearly $75 million with LRC coming in at $1.866 billion and BFM at $1.811 billion.
“There were some sharp disagreements. This is a very conservative estimate,” Rep. Taffy Howard said. “Let’s move on with the final step in this budget process.”
The proposed 2.4 percent increase, which is above the 1.5 percent inflation level required to be provided in state law, in state aid would provide $19.3 million in new money in the general fund of school districts and was included in Gov. Noem’s proposed budget.
Even with the additional $30 million in proposed revenue, public schools must stay vigilant about advocating for the proposed funding increase.
“We know the funding is there for the proposed increase, but schools can’t just settle into the idea that it will be appropriated as proposed,” ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany said. “The budget process for the state is long and nothing’s a certainty until the general fund budget bill is passed.”
FY22 revenue figures will be utilized to fund Senate Bill 49, which sets the School District General Fund levy, target teacher salary and overhead rate for FY 2022, and Senate Bill 194, which appropriates funding for the state general fund for Fiscal Year 2022.
Sec. of Education Tiffany Sanderson told Appropriators “there were some really unexpected impacts due to COVID” that affected student enrollments and the state plan was to “redistribute that $11 million out to school districts.”
Sec. Sanderson noted $4 million of the one-time total would be distributed to all public schools districts on a $30 per-student basis while the remaining amount would “be used to fill in those gaps of decreases” in enrollment some school districts saw and determined utilizing a three-year enrollment review.
Pogany testified in support of the proposal noting public school “budgets are trying to be as flexible” as they can, and any additional influx of funding would assist school districts.
Three additional one-time funding proposals could also affect schools and educators:
- House Bill 1279, which appropriates $900,000 for the development of civics curriculum and resources;
- House Bill 1280, which appropriates $1.5 million to update the educator certification system;
- House Bill 1283, which appropriates $200,000 to update the South Dakota virtual school.