State education package provides $7 million


PIERRE (CNS) – About $7 million of the governor’s $15.1 million education package would be appropriated to school districts under a bill that passed the Senate March 5.

“Instead of appropriating $7.3 million out of the earnings from the trust fund, which didn’t materialize, this identifies the money that will be leftover from state aid (from 2003),” Dale Bertch of the Governor’s Office said. The estimated number of students used to calculate state aid to education were higher than the actual numbers, he said.

House Bill 1191 will direct $7.3 million of leftover state aid back to school districts on an unadjusted average daily membership basis and not through the state aid education formula, State Sen. Ed Olson, R-Mitchell, said. This means that each child receives an additional $58.89. Olson said the money would be a one-time award and would not be an ongoing source for schools.

In past years, the extra money from state aid has gone to wiring schools. Gov. Mike Rounds wants the money to go directly back into education. His proposed increase would be the second largest in the state’s history.

The bill originally established a system for performance-pay to teachers. The hoghouse amendment, introduced by State Sen. Ed Olson, R-Mitchell, changes the bill entirely.

House Bill 1191passed the Senate 35-0.