Senate Kills Johnston Education Bill
By Kealey Bultena
State Senators have killed a measure that preserves funding for South Dakota schools.
Instead of Governor Daugaard’s ten percent cut, Senate Bill 126 keeps per-student allocation flat, but the measure didn’t make it past the Senate floor.
In part, Senate Bill 126 takes $20 million from the education enhancement fund to offset the budget problem. Sponsor, Republican Mark Johnston, says lawmakers should use the trust fund money for its real purpose.
"I think in the core belief of the education enhancement trust fund, that money was to be used to enhance the education of our students and not necessarily to go into the general fund formula for per-student allocation," Johnston says.
But opponent, Republican Jeff Haverly, says legislators must protect the fund, because the general fund draws interest from it.
"Not only does it bleed the education enhancement trust funds, thus jeopardizing future withdrawls for ongoing expenses for educational enhancement, but it is just that: one time money for ongoing expenses," Haverly says.
S.B. 126 also prevents new opt-outs for two years and borrows money from school districts during that time. Senators killed the legislation by a vote of 11 to 24.
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