SD school officials pleased with governor's budgetRAPID CITY(AP) — South Dakota education officials who have been struggling to deal with recent budget cuts said they are encouraged by school aid increases proposed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard.
RAPID CITY(AP) — South Dakota education officials who have been struggling to deal with recent budget cuts said they are encouraged by school aid increases proposed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard.
Daugaard's state spending plan unveiled this week includes a 4.5 percent increase in aid to school districts.
"We're moving in the right direction," Rapid City Education Association President Sue Podoll told the media.
Lawmakers during their last session approved a $52 million cut in state education aid as part of efforts to deal with a $127 million state budget deficit. A study by the Associated School Boards of South Dakota found that the drop in state aid prompted public schools to cut budgets by more than $38 million and eliminate the equivalent of 465 full-time jobs.
The $22.2 million in K-12 education aid increases that the governor has proposed for the next budget year would start the recovery, said Wade Pogany, executive director of the school boards group.
"We know the governor has limited resources, and we're grateful for this plan," he said. "We've got a big hole to get out of, but this is a step in the right direction."
Along with an increase of $9.8 million in ongoing aid, schools would get another $4 million in one-time help for operating expenses under the plan. They also would get $8.4 million in one-time money to cover staff training for initiatives to help students improve in math and English.
Pogany said the training programs and the resources to pay for them are essential.
"A lot of schools have cut professional development budgets, so they don't have money for training," he said.