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S.D.'s proposed budget favorable to K-12 education

January 02. 2014 11:51AM
Governor Daugaard delivered his proposed budget for FY15 in early December, which included his proposal for funding K-12 education. The state aid formula in current law required a 1.6 percent increase in the per-pupil allocation, but the Governor is proposing a 3.0 percent increase instead. That is good news for school districts all across South Dakota.

Brandon Valley continues to be one of the districts that benefits from growth in its enrollment while many school districts are experiencing no growth or declining enrollments. Even with the proposed 3.0 percent increase, many of those districts will continue to struggle. The challenge for growing school districts like Brandon Valley is keeping up with the increased costs associated with having more students. Most of the costs in any school district come from the personnel side of the ledger. Staying competitive in wages and salaries, keeping up with health care costs and providing additional professional staff to keep class sizes under control and support services efficient, are the “big” items in the Brandon Valley budget. Balancing the competing needs is an annual puzzle that needs to be solved.

The proposed increase, if approved by the legislature, provides some additional unexpected funds that will be very helpful in addressing the ongoing needs of the district. I congratulate Gov. Daugaard in his creative approach to the creation of additional sources for ongoing funding without increasing taxes.

The five-year plans from the building principals and directors have been submitted to the central office staff and will serve as the basis for the district’s five-year plan. As always, the requests exceed the funds available, but we expect that as administrators advocate for their students. And, as always, we will work through the puzzle to create learning environments that result in success.

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