South Dakota to receive $144 million for budget, schools

Katrina Sargent

Katrina Sargent

South Dakota will receive $104 million dedicated to education, while SDSU is likely to be impacted through research dollars available in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

On Feb. 17, President Barack Obama signed the act into law. According to, a Web site set up by the White House, the $787 billion act is meant to stimulate the economy through providing money for energy, health care, infrastructure building, education, tax relief and state and local funding.

The ARRA provides $144 billion for states to help them balance their budgets without cutting key programs, especially in education and health. South Dakota is receiving more than $127 million for this purpose.

That money will be divided up into $104 million in an education block grant and $23 million in the form a flexible block grant.

“(The education block grant) will provide funding for K-12 and higher education,” said Kevin Kephart, vice president for research and dean of the graduate school.

According to Kephart, the amount a state receives for education is based on a formula taking the general population of the state into account, as well as the population of people from the ages of 5-24.

North Dakota is receiving $85 million for education and $105 million overall. Minnesota will get $667 million for education and $821 million overall.

Funding will probably come to SDSU in the form of research grants from agencies such as the Department of Energy.

“Many of the faculty will apply for research grants,” said Kephart.

While funds have been set aside at the national level for each state in certain categories, they need to be divided up and handed out by the state governments.

The stimulus funding for education is coming through the state government, said Bob Otterson, executive assistant to the president.

It is now up to the state legislators to divide up the funds based on the guidelines in the ARRA.

Otterson said the university has put forth ideas for some projects and is waiting to see what will happen.

One way the stimulus bill proposes to aid college students is by providing for an increase in available college tax credits across the nation.

According to data from the office of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, South Dakota should have 7,000 additional students receiving college tax credit to help reduce education costs.

North Dakota will have 6,000 additional recipients and Minnesota will have 41,000.

Another part of the ARRA is to help stimulate the economy through creation of new jobs and saving existing employment opportunities.

South Dakota, which had an unemployment rate of 3.9 percent in December of 2008, will have 10,000 jobs created or saved by the Act.

North Dakota, with a December unemployment rate of 3.5 percent, will have 8,000 jobs saved or created, and Minnesota, with an unemployment rate of 6.9 percent, will have 66,000 jobs created or saved.

According to information from the Senate Appropriations Committee, South Dakota will receive nearly $1.2 billion, including $183 million for highway funding and $3 million for education technology.