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SDPB Radio Coverage of the South Dakota Legislature. See all coverage and find links to audio and video streams live from the Capitol at www.sdpb.org/statehouse

Changing The Ed Funding Formula: 1995 & Now

Jenifer Jones
SD State Capitol

A new perspective on education funding is working its way through the State Capitol, but some say it’s an uphill battle. This year Governor Dennis Daugaard is proposing an overhaul of the way the state funds education. His plan includes a half-penny increase in the sales tax and a change in the way schools get funding. The plan requires two-thirds of the state’s lawmakers to approve a tax increase in an election year.

Changing the mechanism South Dakota uses to assign money to schools has been done before — 20 years ago. Two former state leaders instrumental in establishing the current funding formula. Dave Knudson was chief of staff for Governor Bill Janklow; Jan Nicolay was chair of the House Appropriations committee in 1995. In this segment, listen to a brief explanation of the history of the per-student allocation and hear what Knudson and Nicolay say it takes for this session's legislature to change the public school funding formula.

Knudson and Nicolay offer more perspective on the challenges they faced making the last major change to the method South Dakota uses to pay for public education. They also provide detailed insight into the background of the current funding formula, including issues of fairness, video lottery dollars, and property tax relief. You can listen to the extended in-depth discussion with the longtime leaders below.

Listen to an extended conversation among SDPB's Kealey Bultena, Dave Knudson, and Jan Nicolay.