By Paul Schmitt
A new bill was introduced this week in the state legislature to address the funding for smaller rural school districts suffering from budget challenges. First District Representative Joel Kitchens, who co-authored the bill, says the legislation would increase the maximum that qualifying low spending districts can spend on a combination of local property taxes and state aid from $9,100 to $9.400 per student for the next school year. He says it took some negotiations to get it done.
The bill will also increase Sparsity Aid funding to provide an additional $6,454,600 for the 2018-19 school year. One school district that will not receive immediate help is the Southern Door School District because it held a referendum in the last year. Kitchens says he regrets that the new K-12 education funding bill does not impact Southern Door now, but feels the school district will benefit from it in the long term when it will qualify.