South Dakota creates state’s first private school choice program

Today, Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed a bill into law that creates South Dakota’s first private school choice program – a tax credit scholarship program to serve low-income students. With the creation of the Partners in Education Tax Credit Program, South Dakota becomes the 24th state plus the District of Columbia to offer a private school choice program.
“AFC welcomes South Dakota as a school choice state and thanks the Governor and legislators who supported the bill for their commitment to providing quality educational options to the children who need access the most,” said Betsy DeVos, chairman of the American Federation for Children. “School choice across the country is working to change the landscape of our nation’s education system, and South Dakota has now joined this important movement.”
The Partners in Education Tax Credit Program (SB 189) was introduced by State Senator Phyllis Heineman and championed by House Majority Leader Brian Gosch. The $2 million tax credit program will provide scholarships to low-income students whose family earns less than 150 percent of the income guidelines for Free and Reduced Price Lunch. Existing public school students and students entering Kindergarten, first or ninth grade who meet the income guidelines are eligible to participate in the program. Insurance companies supporting the program will receive an 80 percent tax credit against their insurance premium taxes for contributions to scholarship granting organizations.

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