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Education In Proposed 2014 SD State Budget

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Ever since the 2011 legislative session, when cuts were felt across the board in South Dakota, some legislatures and education advocates have been demanding that funding in education be restored. And at governor Dennis Duagaard's presentation of his 2014 budget, education was mentioned again, but for some it wasn't enough.

“I kind of feel like I went to a football game and nobody brought the football. I mean, we really didn't get to the real matter at hand, which is education funding in South Dakota,” said Rep. Bernie Hunhoff.     

As legislators listen to Governor Duagaard lay out his financial plan for the 2014 fiscal year, some felt there was something missing. Education.

While the governor explained how he would increase funding for education by 28.6 million dollars, some feel the 3% raise in K-12 funding isn't enough to make up for cuts in 2011.  

“When you look at the cuts we did take, it's going to take a long time to be restored back to where we were,” said Sandy Arseneault of South Dakota Education Association.  

But, the governor defends the decision to make cuts in budgets past and says education wasn't the only department of the government to deal with cuts.

“The schools ultimately felt the least cut of all. K-12 ended up with a cut of only about 8.6% not 10%,” said Governor Duagaard.

The governor came with a warning to legislators on Tuesday. Saying the fiscal cliff is looming and to spend careful, especially when it comes to the extra million dollars that would be left over in his budget.    

“Certainly the legislature is free to decide that they think that should be spent on education. Then, the question is: what if the sequestration occurs?” said Governor Duagaard.  

But the governors proposed budget is just that, a proposal. The legislature will have the power to make changes this coming session.

“Well, I look forward to the session because I think that's where the conversation will really begin and really continue,” said Arseneault

Education continues to be a major topic for discussion in Pierre, as law makers decide how to spend the state’s money.
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