Here’s an interesting story in today’s Argus.
The Garretson School District is looking for more money for it’s operation, and is voting on an opt-out, despite the passage of legislation to increase teacher pay. And that they’re saying is that it helped, but it’s not enough:
Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s trio of education bills lessened the necessary tax increase for Garretson, Johnson said.
The bills, which Daugaard signed earlier this month, gave school districts additional funds to raise teacher pay through a half-cent sales tax increase. The sales tax revenue also gives the state $40 million to put toward property tax relief, which helps bring down the possible opt out increase in Garretson.
The opt out conversation began before Daugaard’s education proposal was signed, which has meant making sure members of the Garretson school district understand the differences, Johnson said.
“It has made it a little bit more difficult,” Johnson said. “Just because of people’s perception when they see headlines that there’s a new tax for schools or for teachers … there’s an assumption that that will solve our problem here.”
The majority of new money flowing into South Dakota districts from the half-cent sales tax increase must go to teacher salaries and benefits, which does not solve Garretson’s struggle to fund programming and services for students.
Will there still be a gaggle of opt-outs in South Dakota’s future, in spite of the additional tax revenue?