Schools will receive an ongoing increase for next school year, as well as one-time money this year, after legislators approved three bills on the final days of the full run of session.
A one percent increase – equaling approximately $12 in new money – in state aid and special education will be sent to public schools for the 2018-19 school year after legislators approved House Bill 1320 and House Bill 1056.
The $12 million in ongoing state aid and special education funding will be paired with the $16 million increase through anticipated enrollment growth bringing the new money total for next year to approximately $30 million.
“We’re very excited to have received an ongoing increase in state aid and thankful for the hard work and dedication of legislators to provide this to schools,” ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany said.
“If you look back a few months, it didn’t look as though schools would receive an increase in ongoing funding because revenue figures were so low, but thanks to a turnaround in our state’s collections and the commitment by legislators to schools, there’s new, ongoing money being added to the formula.”
House Bill 1320, which appropriates funding for Fiscal Year 2019, is the vehicle for providing the funding for the one percent increase in education funding. The bill was introduced on the final day of session as budget adjustments were made.
“A lot of hard work went into this from a lot of different people,” Sen. Billie Sutton said. “These are the dollars we have and we are prioritizing them.”
House Bill 1056 ensures dollars from the one percent increase in state aid reaches schools by setting general levies and the target teacher salary, among other things. HB 1056 passed the House on a 50-15 vote and the Senate on a 29-3 vote.
“We were able to come up with one percent funding through the formula… keeping our teachers as a priority,” Sen. Justin Cronin said.
HB 1056 sets the target teacher salary for the 2018-19 school year at $49,131 and increases the levies for agriculture to $1.512 per thousand dollars of taxable valuation, for owner-occupied at $3.383 and for commercial at $7.001.
“Because of increased enrollment and the one percent (increase), the levies go up,” Sen. Larry Tidemann said.
HB 1056 also sets the special education levy for school districts $1.567 per thousand dollars of taxable valuation for the 2018-19 school year and reflects a one percent increase in special education funding for each disability level.
The one percent increase comes just a few months after it appeared schools may not receive an increase in state aid as stagnant revenue figures led to Gov. Dennis Daugaard proposing no inflationary increase for education in December.
“We came into this session thinking we had no money at all,” Rep. David Anderson said, adding that “new found growth in our economy” prompted increases in funding in the budget.
The growth in the state’s economy also yielded the legislature the chance to provide $5.4 million – a 0.7 percent increase – in one-time funding for schools through House Bill 1044, which revises the general fund bill for FY2018 with 0.7 percent in one-time money for schools.
“We saw some positive things happen with our revenue,” Rep. Jean Hunhoff said “We looked at the resources available. We are giving a one-time payment to our schools.”
The one-time money is expected to be provided to schools this spring.
As the main run of legislative session comes to a close, Pogany cited the positive note it ends on.
“With one-time funds coming in along with the ongoing money for next year, we have a lot to be thankful for from this session,” Pogany said. “There was a lot of uncertainty in funding not long ago.”
“However, the philosophy and goals behind 2016’s Blue Ribbon Task Force have been upheld by the legislature and available funds in the state budget continue to be dedicated to public education and we should thank our Representatives and Senators for that commitment.”