It took a conference committee to bring both legislative chambers to a compromise on a bill intricately linked to providing school districts with the proposed three percent funding increase, but alas, it’s headed to Gov. Dennis Daugaard.
Senate Bill 158 saw various iterations on its way through both the House and Senate, but a conference committee was needed to etch the final language of the bill into place.
The bill revises certain funding provisions of the Building South Dakota fund following the expiration of the three year moratorium established in Senate Bill 157 and deposits dollars to the Building S.D. fund if the state’s reserves are at or above 10 percent of the state’s general fund budget.
An amendment to SB 158 changes the formula for funding the bill, making it reliant on excess dollars from unobligated dollars, if there are no excess dollars in the state’s reserves. If there is no unobligated dollars and the state’s reserves are 10 percent or under, then half a percent of the previous fiscal year’s general fund budget would be appropriated to the Building S.D. fund.
Rep. Lust said the bill was a “better product” than previously passed and the “basic structure” of the bill remains in place.
Rep. Bernie Hunhoff said the bill would do more harm than good for the Building South Dakota fund.
“We’re drastically undercutting the funding source,” Rep. Hunhoff said, citing the reliance on excess reserve dollars weakened the funding source and therefore had the potential to underfund Building South Dakota.
Rep. Lust warned that “a vote against (SB 158)…dramatically affects funding for education” because it was part of the foundation for providing this year’s proposed three percent funding increase and possibly supplying schools with additional ongoing dollars in the future.
SB 158’s conference committee members voted 4-2 to pass the amended bill and House members did so by a 52-18 vote and Senators on a 31-4 vote.
As mentioned above, SB 157 provides an appropriation of $30 million spread over the next three years to the Building South Dakota fund. The bill also ensures there will be no cap on potential funding for the Building South Dakota fund after the three year period is up.
ASBSD supports both bills, which now move to Gov. Daugaard’s desk for signature or veto.