K-12 funding will remain below fiscal year '11 level
By CHUCK CLEMENT, Staff Reporter
State officials did increase South Dakota's contribution to the K-12 education fund for the upcoming fiscal year, but there are still concerns that the state hasn't made repairs to the spending decreases made in fiscal year 2012 when recession-influenced budget cuts were made.|
Madison's per-student allocation from the state is expected to increase $4,491 this year to $4,626 in FY2014. The $4,626 per-student funding for the 2013-14 school year is still below the $4,805 per-student funding made available during FY2010 and FY2011.
State Rep. Scott Parsley, D-Dist. 8, said during his discussions with local school superintendents that the administrators appreciated the K-12 funding increases, but they still had long-range concerns.
"They were pleased that we've started to reinstall some of the funding that was reduced several years ago, but (the superintendents) also said that they're still dealing with funding cuts that were made several years ago," Parsley said.
Along with the per-student funding cut made two years ago, state aid did not increase between FY2010 and FY2011. State law has required that the per-student allocation adjusts for either the rate of inflation or 3 percent, whichever is less.
During his State of the State Address in early December, Gov. Dennis Daugaard proposed a 3 percent increase in state funding to K-12 education. However, at the time of the speech, some legislators expressed concern that Daugaard did not offer specific details about his plans for K-12 funding.
According to Parsley, the state's K-12 schools will receive an overall 3 percent increase in state funding, but the per-student allocation will increase by only 1.8 percent. Parsley calculated that 1.2 percent of the K-12 funding will arrive as one-time money, which is not added to the ongoing per-student formula.
Parsley said the governor and state Legislature did provide some additional K-12 funding for the current school year, amounting to an increase of about 1 percent when state officials found additional tax revenues for FY2013.
South Dakota legislators also extended for a second time a law that has allowed K-12 school districts to spend capital-outlay funds, money collected to support buildings and grounds, on expenses that are typically paid with general funds.
During 2009, current Dist. 8 Senator Russell Olson and other lawmakers passed a temporary law that allowed school districts to spend capital-outlay money on ongoing expenses that include utilities and insurance payments for property and busing.
The Legislature gave the law its first extension in 2011 and during this year's session, the law was extended for a second time until 2018.