South Dakota Funding Proposal Worse Than Expected

Last Updated: January 25, 2011

This article appeared in the January 2011 Rural Policy Matters.

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South Dakota schools are bracing for even deeper cuts than those proposed last month by outgoing Governor Mike Rounds (see December RSFN). Newly-elected Governor Dennis Daugaard had said he would take Rounds’ proposed five percent cut into consideration. But his budget proposal includes a 10% across-the-board cut — about $480 per student, a move that state educators say would take schools back to 2005 funding levels. Daugaard said the deep cuts are necessary to address a “structural deficit” that will not be fixed by using reserve money and that he will not raise taxes to address the revenue deficits.

South Dakota’s revenue streams have been dropping regularly for the past several years. Last year schools did not receive an inflationary increase for the first time since the law, which mandates the increase, was implemented.

Also this month, the South Dakota Supreme Court began heard arguments in the state school funding lawsuit. In questions to the attorneys arguing the case, several Justices commented that the Court has a responsibility to uphold the state constitution, which provides for “general and uniform system of public schools.” In some rural districts where funding is particularly low, only about 50% of students are testing to state requirements.

Read more:

Coverage of anticipated budget cuts:

Reaction to Governor Daugaard’s proposed budget:

Coverage of the school finance case hearing before the SD Supreme Court:

Read more from the January 2011 Rural Policy Matters.