The 2% increase in K-12 funding is up for a vote in House Appropriations this morning. Senate Bill 53 would increase the per-student allocation from $4,781.14 to $4,876.76. That’s $95.62 more per child.
Senate Bill 53 gets a quarter of that increase from Governor Dennis Daugaard’s budget trick of shifting about half of the cost of school technology, statewide standardized tests, and the sparsity factor (the boost to the per student allocation for schools in low-population, large-area school districts) to local districts. That means Sioux Falls School District taxpayers will pay a little more than they would have under the previous school funding formula to cover extra school costs out in Faith and Harding County. Perhaps luckily for Faith and Harding County, there’s only one Sioux Falls guy, Rep. Alex Jensen (R-13) on House Appropriations.
Whatever budget tricks House Appropriations plays to get that 2% increase, keep in mind that the proposed PSA for FY 2016 is only 1.5% higher than the previous peak of $4,805 back in FY 2011. Without opt-outs or budget cuts in other areas, South Dakota schools will only be able to pay teachers wages that match what they got five years ago.