South Dakota School Choice Bill Signed by Governor

The Governor of South Dakota signed an improvement to the Partners in Education Tax Credit Program today. The bill raises the tax credit percentage from 80 percent to 100 percent, and allows the companies to take the credit when they file their quarterly taxes. The Governor will hold a ceremonial signing next week.
Statement from John Schilling, President of American Federation of Children:
We stand with families and children in South Dakota today to applaud Governor Kristi Noem and Senator Lee Shoenbeck for demonstrating leadership and determination on behalf of lower-income children. As the first state to pass an educational choice expansion into law this year, we are pleased that the improvement to the tax credit scholarship program will be the first of many new laws in 2019 that will advance educational freedom for families. Hundreds of lower-income children across South Dakota are already experiencing the benefits of the education of their family’s choice, and we believe many more will be empowered to do so in the near future.
Statement from State Senator Lee Shoenbeck:
“This is going to be an important program for empowering lower income families to put their children in the kind of schools that those families feel are consistent with how they want to raise their children. It’s an empowering thing for low income families. The reality is that most private schools are faith based schools. There’s no reason lower income families shouldn’t have access to the same opportunities as other families who choose that option.
“In South Dakota we have both created and expanded this program by cooperating with public and private schools. And the message we have shared every step of the way is that we are about educating every child. We’ve tried to create opportunity for families no matter where they are on the education spectrum – public, private, or homeschool – we support educating all kids.”
Details on the Partners in Education Tax Credit Program:
Scholarships Awarded:
480
Schools Participating:
42
2017 Donations:
$290,000
Program Type:
Tax Credit Scholarship—corporate (insurance companies only)
Student Eligibility:
-Family income cannot exceed 150% of the amount required to qualify for the free or reduced-price lunch (FRL) program.
-A renewing student remains eligible for three years, or if the student is entering high school, until high school graduation, regardless of household income; after initial period of income eligibility, a student remains eligible if family income does not exceed 200% of the amount required to qualify for FRL.
-Student must have received a scholarship under the Partners in Education Tax Credit Program the preceding semester, attended public school the preceding semester, be attending school in South Dakota for the first time or be entering kindergarten, 1st grade or 9th grade

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