South Dakota expanding school choice

South Dakota expanding school choice

South Dakota expanding school choice

Backed by a Republican governor who stands solidly behind school choice, the Mount Rushmore State legislature has passed a bill that will give families more school choice opportunities.

The American Federation for Children (AFC) says with the passage of Senate Bill 71 earlier this month, the Partners in Education Tax Credit Program increases funding and expands eligibility throughout the state.

Blanks, Walter (AFC) Blanks

"This expansion also allows children in foster care to participate in the system as well," adds Walter Blanks, AFC's press secretary. "So it's a great opportunity and just another avenue for children to have more access to higher quality education."

Not unexpectedly, Blanks says the teachers unions opposes the legislation and have used the usual argument that school choice depletes funding for public schools -- a claim he says is simply not true.

"The average per-pupil funding for public education is $14,000, and the average cost of tuition per year for a private school is around $7,000," Blanks explains. "So basically it's cut in half. And more often than not, you have these choice schools outperforming the district."

The House vote was 44 to 23; the bill already passed the Senate 27 to 5, and Governor Kristi Noem (R) is expected to sign the bill into law.