Press "Enter" to skip to content

Against Legislature’s Direction, Noem Raids Federal Pandemic Money to Subsidize Religious Schools

In another example of Executive Branch overreach, Governor Kristi Noem is using federal money to contravene the will of the Legislature and enact a pared-down version of her private-school vouchers plan for foster kids:

Gov. Kristi Noem is planning to use pandemic-era federal funds to make good on a program offering educational aid to foster families in South Dakota.

…Rather than the $5 million annual price tag on the Stronger Families Scholarship shot down by the legislature, the South Dakota Department of Education confirmed to Forum News Service that the department is making $500,000 available to subsidize private school tuition for foster children in the state during the upcoming school year [Jason Harward, “SD Gov. Noem Brings Back Foster Scholarship, Sidestepping Lawmakers with Federal Funds,” Mitchell Republic, 2023.05.23].

Governor Noem’s Senate Bill 100, copycatting the foster-voucher idea from ALEC, was another of her stunning Legislative failures during the 2023 Session. She and feckless prime sponsor Senator Al Novstrup (R-3/Aberdeen) failed to push the bill out of its first committee hearing, where the votes to kill it were all Republican.

But now the Governor is creating more waste and inefficiency by saying that, in addition to the hundreds of millions of dollars we spend to provide free and easily accessible education to foster kids and every other child in South Dakota, we need to throw federal dollars at a whole nother collection of publicly unaccountable and, in South Dakota, exclusively religious schools that will only serve a chosen few children.

Transferring federal pandemic relief dollars to prop up private schools three years after Governor Noem quit taking coronavirus seriously should come with peals of laughter at sheer hypocrisy. It also comes with strings:

For example, program rules make clear that these dollars must go directly to non-public schools. As a result, rather than reimbursing foster parents directly for a wide array of incurred costs, the funds will only be used to pay for private school tuition.

Another hurdle for using these specific funds is a requirement that these dollars go to private schools with “significant” portions of low-income students, potentially meaning foster children would only have their tuition subsidized if they attend certain private schools in South Dakota.

A complete set of rules for exactly how the $500,000 will be disbursed this coming school year was not made available to Forum News Service prior to the deadline for this story [Harward, 2023.05.23].

Why any of my public tax dollars should be used to subsidize anyone’s private religious school remains beyond me… as does why the South Dakota Legislature continues to permit Governor Noem to do things they told her she cannot do.


  1. larry kurtz 2023-05-29 08:43

    Idaho and Montana Earth haters are pulling this voucher crap, too.

    So, which will it be: a B-21 bomber base in South Dakota or is a state law targeting pregnant people already jeopardizing military readiness? TRICARE pays for some abortions chosen by military personnel so after Kristi Noem becomes some Earth hater’s Veep choice will a Governor Larry Rhoden sue to overturn a winning ballot measure codifying Roe?

  2. larry kurtz 2023-05-29 08:51

    In my home state of South Dakota the Republican governor chose to infect thousands (some reports say millions) with the Trump Virus putting its entire population at risk. Kristi Noem’s biological war on her own constituents created dire circumstances sending nurses out of state, forcing people over 65 into the workplace and driving the closure of nursing homes.

    Without butts in the pews the Rapid City Diocese even received almost $400,000 in aid from the Trump Organization but it was too little, too late according to President Paula Langteau at Presentation College in Aberdeen.

  3. P. Aitch 2023-05-29 09:11

    Good for your Governor. *(No one need be interested in my opinion.)
    My portion of USA group funds are well spent providing religious education to kids without that opportunity.
    Catholic school kids are some of the most rebellious in their late teens with justifiable reasoning.

  4. Tom 2023-05-29 11:21

    “Allah akbar!” do I get a cut?

  5. Bonnie B Fairbank 2023-05-29 11:29

    Cory ponders, in his last paragraph, why any of his tax dollars (Grudz will be surprised he’s not the only tax payer in SD propping up this third world state) are subsidizing private religious schools.

    “…why the South Dakota legislature continues to permit Governor Noem to do things they told her she cannot do.”

    My informed opinion, based upon the men I know in Fall River County, is that Republican males “think” with their little heads when it comes to Christi Lynn. While voting in the general election before last in Hot Springs, the unanimous consensus of the men in lines around me in the auditorium was “she sure is a cutie” and one prominent citizen publicly and audibly declared he wished she’d fellate him (NOT the words he used.)

    The SD legislature has 105 lawmakers; only thirty of which are female. I can only infer the manly legislators are so enthralled with the “cutie” they are unwilling or helpless to insist she do her job and obey the laws. She might pout, or God forbid, grow up and start acting like a leader rather than the vapid, vain c*cktease she is. Besides, she might shoot ’em with her bear gun if they made her follow the law.

  6. sx123 2023-05-29 12:03

    Can Satanist based religious schools get some of these funds?

    Or how about Bhuddist? Hindu? Muslim? Flying Spaghetti Monster?

  7. larry kurtz 2023-05-29 12:23

    Mrs. Noem’s christianic dominionism is a fund raising bug and not a feature of the Schoenbeck/RINO wing of the SDGOP.

  8. Arlo Blundt 2023-05-29 13:34

    I’m not against helping foster kids get an education. We have a lot of foster kids in South Dakota and they drift through the foster care system often bouncing from foster family to foster family. To some extent their plight is an outcome of untreated addiction suffered by their biological parents. Fact is, religious families are often motivated to take in foster children and want these kids to go to the same school as the other children in the family. Fact is, the Legislature chooses to ignore the plight of foster children, session after session. I am opposed to the Governor taking unilateral action on this, but there doesn’t seem to be any real long term policy to assist foster children in a meaningful way.

  9. Mike Lee Zitterich 2023-05-29 14:09

    I am proud that SOUTH DAKOTA, a independent, sovereign state of people are aligning themselves behind the Western Church, utilizing their services to help foster, and promote a greater wellness of our Children’s education, healthcare, and security. This is exactly how Government and Religion are to interact with each other, to help build up morals, values, and responsibility inside our State. Nothing in the U.S Constitution forbids that, and nothing in our laws can stop it. The PEOPLE have spoken…And furthmore, more counties are waking up to electing our officials using hand counts, and denying the signing of contracts with ES & S Voting Systems cause that company is corrupt.

  10. larry kurtz 2023-05-29 16:08

    I am so embarrassed for my home state I’m tempted to drive to Brookings and place a seismometer at George Mickelson’s grave to measure how fast he must be spinning in there.

  11. Arlo Blundt 2023-05-29 16:36

    Mr. Zittrich-you are wrong about this, especially the notion that South Dakota is a sovereign state aligned with the “Western Church” whatever that is. The First Amendment specifically curtails the establishment of religion and Governor Noem’s action can be found in violation of the Amendment and various state law by either the State or US Supreme Court. She is betting the courts will bend over backward and find in her favor if anyone brings an action. She may be well intended as she is acting in a void created by the State Legislature and her administration not addressing the needs of foster children under the care of the State. Good intentions do not justify ignoring both the State and the US Constitution.

  12. e platypus onion 2023-05-29 18:14

    South Duhkota is totally dependent on the largesse from Blue States that pay their taxes while red states live off the welfare of the people they despise the most, Liberals.

  13. blueboy 2023-05-29 21:24

    Religious indoctrination (“Western” or otherwise) seems to be about willful ignorance, bias, hate, and insularity. These are not the “morals, values, and responsibility” I would choose to subsidize.

  14. All Mammal 2023-05-29 22:53

    There is no mention anywhere official that says it is the government’s role to enforce “morals”. The government has no business deciding what morals I should espouse. Look at all the miserable places where religion and/or the state enforce morality. People know right from wrong and shouldn’t need a book or master to pick and choose for us.

    The government and bible have been known to fail to condemn slavery and rape.

    Freedom means no man’s or god’s morals are forced upon me. I don’t trust your God.

  15. M 2023-05-30 06:38

    Someone needs to take this action to court. Sue Noem’s ass so bad she’ll have to Botox that as well.

  16. Jenny 2023-05-30 07:27

    ‘Freedom means no man’s or god’s morals are forced upon me’ I like that, All Mammal. The governor, Mike Z and pubs like them have never really appreciated freedom since they are always busy trying to take other people’s freedom away.

  17. Tater 2023-05-31 09:00

    Will South Dakotans allow Kristana Noemski to dictate the offical state religion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.