ASBSD and school board members across the state support and continue to advocate in favor of Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s proposed half cent sales tax increase, as noted in this release yesterday from the Associated School Boards group.
“Our school board members are committed to supporting the half cent sales tax increase that will help them recruit and retain our teachers,” ASBSD President Eric Stroeder said. “The bill not only helps public schools, but benefits our local tax payers, who have seen an increased funding burden placed on them.”
The recently introduced House Bill 1182 proposes the half cent increase to the state’s sales tax, which hasn’t been permanently raised since 1969. In addition, the bill will reduce property taxes across all classes of property by 12 percent with agricultural levy tax payers seeing a tax decrease of $7 million, owner-occupied tax payers saving $13.9 million and commercial tax payers recovering $19.1 million.
The half cent sales tax increase would commit more than $60 million in new funding for public schools to distribute to teachers and staff for the upcoming school year and would establish the new, ongoing revenue source our schools desperately need to quell the state’s teacher shortage.
Data from schools and the Blue Ribbon Task Force have illustrated how shallow the state’s teacher pool has become and with no practical alternative funding plan presented, the passage of House Bill 1182 is vital.
“There is no viable second option for improving teacher pay in our state or funding our public education system at the level needed,” ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany said.
“School board members and community leaders must let our legislators know that our public schools need this new, ongoing revenue source to recruit and retain our teachers and maintain South Dakota’s excellent public education system.”
This comes several weeks after an earlier notation of support for the Daugaard plan:
“Gov. Daugaard has listened to our pleas for help with the teacher shortage and, along with input from the education community through the work of the Blue Ribbon Task Force, developed a plan we believe will help us solve this growing problem,” ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany said.
The education community stands on a united front in support of Gov. Daugaard’s proposal as ASBSD, School Administrators of South Dakota (SASD), South Dakota Education Association (SDEA), the Large School Group and the South Dakota United School Association all endorsed the plan.
Take specific note of the language that the ASBSD uses – “No Viable Second Option,” as it coincidentally comes at the same time that South Dakota Democrats release their plan, Senate Bill 151.
Considering the timing, I suspect they knew exactly what they were doing when they made that statement.