School officials remain hopeful for extra K-12 dollars
March 13. 2014 9:18AM
less than two weeks left in this year’s legislative session in Pierre. The total bill count seems to be down somewhat this year, but there were a larger number of education bills than we have seen in recent years. Since bills needed to be passed out of their house of origin last week there are only a few issues left on the table. In South Dakota where every bill gets a hearing before a committee, many of the proposals meet their demise early in the process. Toward the end of the session the focus turns to the budget.
The revenue estimates, while not officially released at the time of this writing, seem to be indicating no significant net changes from the estimates that the governor used in developing his budget. We will know more, probably within days, about the preliminary numbers for the end of February and that could influence how the legislatures moves forward with the final appropriations bills.
The 3 percent increase for K-12 education that was proposed by Governor Daugaard still seems to be likely and would be very welcome in contrast to the static, declining or meager increases of the past few years. Always, at the end of the session, there is a scramble for whatever scraps are lying around the appropriators’ table. We are hopeful that some of those funds might be allocated to increase teacher pay in South Dakota, which is the lowest in the country. Our teachers here in Brandon Valley and all across South Dakota work hard to deliver high quality instruction to South Dakota’s students and we appreciate all they do. Maybe the appropriators can find a meaningful way to reward those efforts.