Do you remember this from last summer:
What Congress giveth, governors taketh away.
Lawmakers gave cash-strapped states $10 billion last month to save 145,000 teachers' jobs. The funds were meant to reduce classroom crowding and restore programs lost to state budget cuts.
But some governors have other ideas for the money, namely using the funds to close their budget shortfalls. Several are planning to reduce state aid to school districts by the amount they receive from the feds. Others are looking to use the money for school construction and improvements.
And if state tax revenues fall short later this year, even more governors will likely slash state aid, figuring schools have the federal funds as a cushion.
The CNN report says this about Governor Rounds' plan:
South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds is planning a similar move. He intends to reduce state aid by the $26.3 million that districts will receive from the federal government and spend it on other state needs.
In the Mount Rushmore State, which hasn't had many teacher layoffs, the plan is also tinged with political perspective. Rounds doesn't want schools to get used to the extra funds since they won't be available next year, said his spokesman, Joe Kafka.
Legally, governors can reduce state aid as long as certain criteria are met. They are not allowed the add to the state's rainy day accounts, nor can they let their state education funding fall below a certain level. But federal officials are encouraging states to support their schools.
During Saturday's District 20 cracker barrell in Mitchell, Rep. Lance Carson, who is Vice Chair of the House Appropriations committee, admitted that the $26.3 million is not going to be used to reduce state aid. Instead they are going to use it to fund a one-time $27,475,000 bank franchise tax refund. Here is a link to the Governor's budget summary PDF file where you will find that on page 19. So far the Mitchell Daily Republic has not reported on this important revelation let alone provide details on the bank franchise tax refund. Here is what they are saying about the meeting so far.