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Attorney General Marty Jackley

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South Dakota’s School Funding System Upheld


PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Marty Jackley announces that the South Dakota Supreme Court has unanimously held that the Plaintiffs in Davis v. State failed to prove that South Dakota’s school funding system is unconstitutional. The Plaintiffs did not prove that the school funding system fails to provide children of the state with an adequate and quality education which gives them the opportunity to prepare for their future roles as citizens, participants in the political system, and competitors both economically and intellectually. The Court further found that statewide, students in South Dakota compare favorably at a national level. The Plaintiffs were unable to establish that increased funding would result in even greater student achievement. 
State funding based on the state aid formula is the largest source of revenue for South Dakota’s public school districts, followed by local property taxes. The districts also depend on other revenue sources such as borrowed funds through bond issues;  funds from federal, state or other political subdivisions;  and funds received from fines and penalties. The state aid formula funds school districts based on an established per student allocation, a district’s enrollment, and the amount of local property tax levied. School districts may increase their funds by “opting out” of the tax levies and tax at higher rates.
“Even though the State prevailed in this constitutional challenge, we must be vigilant in continuing to provide the necessary financial resources and cost-effective solutions for our children’s education,” said Attorney General Marty Jackley. “We are fortunate that South Dakota maintains a healthy base of highly qualified, hardworking teachers that are devoted to the education of our children.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :  Thursday, September 1, 2011 
CONTACT: Sara Rabern, (605) 773-3215