On Friday, March 25 South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard (R) signed into law the Partners in Education Tax Credit Program (SB 189). South Dakota becomes the 29th state with an education choice program. The law allows insurance companies to receive a tax credit of 80 percent against their insurance premium taxes for amounts they donate to a scholarship-granting organization. The program is capped at $2 million in tax credits. Eligibility for the scholarships is limited to students whose family income is no more than 150 percent of the income threshold for the federal free and reduced-price school lunch program.
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“South Dakota takes an important step, albeit a very small step, to allowing parents to fully direct the education of their children. Education choice works and should be expanded to all children, not just a few. Every child deserves access to a quality education that meets their individual education needs.”
“South Dakota has decided to dip its toes in school choice. It’s a good start, but not a bold one given the now decades of research and experience with much larger programs in other states showing what a positive measure this will be for South Dakota children and taxpayers. Lawmakers should be pleased, but not satisfied.”
“While a universal scholarship tax credit bill would have been ideal, the Partners in Education Tax Credit Program is a welcome first step. Very few children will be helped by the program, but at least the private school choice movement has established a beachhead in another state. From here will begin the fight to ensure each and every child in South Dakota will have the right to attend the school of their family’s choosing.”
“It’s good to see South Dakota embark on this scholarship tax credit program, but there is something missing: Parents will likely not have good consumer information about the schools. For school choice programs to thrive, they need both the scholarship and good information in the hands of parents.”
“Today, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed a scholarship tax credit (STC) bill into law. This is a small step in the right direction for school choice reform. Only one-third of one percent of South Dakota students might get the scholarship. This could have been a bigger victory for the school choice movement if the bill provided more students with scholarships. As it stands, this bill is a small victory for the school choice movement.”
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