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SD House OKs schools’ to use pension levy for insurance

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news Mitchell, 57301
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Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

PIERRE — South Dakota school districts would be allowed to use their pension levy for group health insurance expenses, too, under a measure approved Wednesday in the state House of Representatives.

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The vote was 39-31 in favor. The measure now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Legislators should trust school board members, superintendents and business managers, said Rep. Kyle Schoenfi sh, R-Scotland. He is prime sponsor of HB 1218.

“It’s a local control issue,” Schoenfi sh said.

He added, “What the school’s spending isn’t going to change.”

Approximately 30 districts aren’t fully tapping their pension levy or aren’t using it at all, he said.

Opposing the expanded use was Rep. David Novstrup, R-Aberdeen. He said the uses of various levies have expanded through the years.

“We might as well have one fund,” he said.

Rep. Brock Greenfi eld, R-Clark, recalled tha t last year the House was willing to give schools more fl exibility on using the pension levy.

The Senate took the bill for another purpose and Schoenfish never received a final vote on it.

“Some schools do have a large balance in their pension funds,” Greenfield said. He said districts could stave off opt-outs this way.

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