PIERRE – State senators made clear Wednesday that at least most of them don’t want to cut as deeply as Gov. Dennis Daugaard has recommended for general education aid to public schools.
One is the governor’s legislation, SB 185. It seeks to change the per-student allocation from state aid and local property taxes to $4,324.14 for the 2012 school fiscal year. That would be a 10 percent reduction of $480.46 from the 2011 allocation of $4,804.60.
“We still don’t know what that amount should be as I stand here today,” Sen. Bob Gray, R-Pierre, said.
Daugaard has noted on numerous occasions that the 10 percent cut isn’t really 10 percent in the big picture, because school districts typically spend at least $2,000 to $4,000, and often more, per student in addition to the general-education funding.
Wednesday was working day 26 of the 38-day legislative session and was the last day for bills to be passed or killed in their first chamber. The vote to keep the Daugaard bill moving was 22-13.
“Please continue the discussion on the other side,” Rep. Deb Peters, R-Hartford, said.
The second education-funding bill passed by senators Wednesday, sponsored by Sen. Larry Rhoden, R-Union Center, would reduce general state aid to school districts by 6.4 percent.
The legislation, SB 152, would hold set the per-student allocation at $4,494.28, a reduction of $310.32 from the 2011 allocation.
Rhoden’s method would be to set property-tax levies for owner-occupied homes and commercial properties at the same level for 2012 school funding as they are for 2011, while agricultural levies would be reduced slightly to preserve the balance required by another state law.