• South Dakota
• Gov. Michael Rounds
In his third annual State of the State Address, Gov. Michael Rounds complained of “confusion” that has followed two $7.3 million grants that, at his behest, the legislature distributed to schools for the 2004-05 and 2005-06 school years—one-time money that will not be available for next year.
“Some school leaders are now saying that the one-time money of the past was really supposed to be ongoing. That’s not true,” he said in the Jan. 11 speech.
Finance: With those past sums left out, Gov. Rounds proposed to give schools “a 2.9 percent increase in ongoing revenues,” the largest per-pupil increase in state funding in 10 years, he said. He also noted in the speech that K-12 enrollment in the state continues to decline.
Mr. Rounds, a Republican, highlighted reading in the speech, by citing the state’s participation in the federal Reading First program, and an initiative promoted by his wife, Jean Rounds, that distributes books to children as well as a “prescription” to read, through the state’s 126 cooperative health clinics.
Laptops: In his December budget speech, the governor proposed spending $13 million over several years to buy laptop computers for schools, but would require schools to pay $2 for every $1 from the state for that purpose. The program would be voluntary, for school districts that decided to provide laptops to all their high school students; a pilot project is planned for as early as next fall.