PIERRE -- The governor's recommendation to provide a 2 percent increase in the per-student allocation for South Dakota's public schools next year contains a catch.
It would shift additional responsibility onto local property taxpayers.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard wants property owners to start paying a share of the costs for three school programs that are now paid 100 percent by state government.
Those are school technology, academic assessments and bonus payments to sparsely populated rural school districts.
They currently cost state government $11.2 million.
The governor wants to reduce spending for those three programs to $8.6 million and then split the costs.
Property owners would pay 46.2 percent and state government 53.8 percent.
That is the same ratio used for the per-student allocation that is the main source of funding for general education in K-12 public schools.
The savings to state government from splitting the costs on the three programs would free $2.6 million for state government to provide toward the per-student allocation.
That makes possible the 2 percent increase recommended by the governor in the per-student allocation, according to his chief of staff, Tony Venhuizen.
He said Daugaard originally planned to recommend only a 1.5 percent increase in the per-student allocation.
State law says the per-student allocation shall increase by the lesser of CPI or 3 percent.
CPI, which stands for consumer price index, was 1.5 percent.
Property owners would need to provide a 46.2 percent match for the additional per-student allocation.
General education levies will still go down, according to Jason Dilges, the governor's commissioner of finance and management.
"This is a win-win for schools," Dilges said.
The Associated School Boards of South Dakota organization is waiting for additional information regarding the governor's recommendation, according to Wade Pogany, the group's executive director.
The governor made the recommendation Tuesday in his budget speech to the Legislature. The additional details were released Wednesday in response to a reporter's questions.
The state-funded technology in schools program currently costs $7,849,086. It would drop to $6,025,244 if rolled into the state aid formula under the governor's proposal.
Likewise, the sparsity bonuses would drop from $1,900,032 to $1,458,534 while the academic assessments would fall from $1,463,000 to $1,123,052.
The cost of the 2 percent increase in per-student allocation would be $8,962,141. That is $2,425,889 more than at 1.5 percent.
The allocation amount per student for the current school year is estimated at $4,781 split between state and local sources. The governor's proposal would raise the amount to $4,877. It was $4,805 prior to the cuts made in 2011 by the governor and the Legislature.