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Schools Hopeful For An Increase In Funding

January 14, 2014, 7:13 AM by Brittany Larson

Schools Hopeful For An Increase In Funding

Soon the legislature at the state capitol will kick off the 2014 session. As always, the budget is expected to be one of the hot topics this year. This time education funding is expected to see a boost.

For the last couple of years, the Baltic School District, along with several others across KELOLAND dealt with budget cuts and a decrease in school funding from the state.

"I think all schools were suffering fairly equally and if somebody's enrolment was going up, then it was easier for them but anybody whose enrollment was staying equal or even going down a little bit, it has been really hard to make things work," Superintendent Bob Sittig said.

While enrollment has been steady at the Baltic School District, Sittig says he's hopeful that the economy has come around enough and revenue for the state is stable, so they can get back to where they were.

"I think it has been awhile since the state government felt like they had some extra money, I think they feel like they are in that position this year. So hopefully they can use some of that extra money to get us back to where we were about four years ago," Sittig said.

Assuming enrollment stays the same, the difference between a three percent increase, which is what Governor Dennis Daugaard proposed, compared to a 3.8 percent, which is what many school districts are hoping for, is around $15,000.

For the 2013-2014 school year, the per-student allowance is $4,625. With a 3.8 increase, they would have $4,805.

However, for next year's school year they should be at $5,224 per student. But even with this increase, school officials still have to consider inflation over the last couple of years.

"It was almost five years in 2009 and 2010; we were $4,905 per student. So next year we're talking five years to get back to where we were, much less where we should have been because there has been inflation in the five years and that's what really makes it hard is that in those five years our expenses have gone up, but our revenue is less than it was five years ago," Sittig said.

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