Company Gives $50K Donation Under New School Choice Law

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – A Sioux Falls-based company has given a $50,000 contribution to help South Dakota students attend private schools under a state-backed scholarship program.

Michael VanErdewyk, CEO and chairman at ReliaMax, said Tuesday that helping students and their families with options to get the best education possible has always been the company’s top priority.

Former Sen. Phyllis Heineman sponsored the legislation last year. She says the scholarship program raised $325,000 in 2016.

Companies that pay an insurance company tax can get an 80 percent tax credit for total contributions to a scholarship organization. The total amount of credits is capped at $2 million each budget year.

The program’s critics argue the state has an obligation to provide public education and that the law could unconstitutionally direct public funds to religious schools.

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