Janklow calls for new scholarship program, $17 million increase in funding for education

Janklow calls for new scholarship program, $17 million increase in funding for education Saying he wants South Dakota to approach education more seriously, Gov. Bill Janklow proposed a new multi-million-dollar scholarship program Tuesday as the cornerstone of his budget plan for state government next year.

The Regents Scholarship program would substantially reward high school students who successfully complete a more rigorous curriculum of advanced math, laboratory science, foreign language, fine arts, computer skills, English and social studies.

School districts in turn would need to offer the courses so their students could be eligible for the scholarships. The scholarships could be used to pay for college, technical school or other post-secondary education. The long-range goal is to produce hundreds more young people each year with the training and skills needed for higher-paying careers in the modern workforce.

"I've really decided the way to build a society is to build the intellectual base," Janklow said. "The point I'm trying to make is South Dakota isn't going to look any different 20 or 30 years from now unless we do something different � and that something different is K-12 education."

The scholarships would be funded annually from South Dakota's share of the national

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tobacco settlement. The scholarship would be $1,500 the first year; $2,000 the second year; $2,500 the third year and $3,000 the fourth year. Students would need to maintain a 3.0 grade point average and pledge to not use tobacco to remain eligible.

In addition, Janklow recommended a $17 million increase in funding for K-12 schools, universities and technical schools:

* That includes $7.9 million more to increase the base amount of general support per student in K-12 schools. The base would increase by $110 per student to $3,776, but 132 of the 176 school districts would get substantially more. For the 54 school districts with 200 or fewer students, the new base would be $4,531. For the 78 school districts with 201 to 600 students, the new base would range between $4,531 and $3,776;

* $1 million to provide more grants to communities for before- and after-school programs where children can spend productive time while their parents are at work. Janklow said he hopes all communities will start programs. More than 50 communities currently have programs at more than 175 sites in South Dakota, such as schools, youth centers and others;

* $1 million to expand and accelerate the state's advanced reading program that trains teachers in primary grades to better teach reading. Approved by the Legislature at Janklow's urging last year, the program was scheduled to cover all first- and second-grade teachers over a three-year period. Janklow wants the extra money to expand the program to also cover third-grade teachers and to get training to the teachers faster. The teachers receive a $700 bonus for participating in the training;

* A $1.16 million increase in state funding for the four technical institutes at Sioux Falls, Mitchell, Watertown and Rapid City. The increase would bring state funding of tech schools to $15.1 million; and

* A $6.2 million increase in state funding for the six state universities.

Another special initiative in the budget is $500,000 for a statewide program to screen all adults one time for diabetes and blood pressure problems.

Janklow also budgeted the final $10 million needed to complete the $122 million property-tax relief program that reduced property taxes by 30 percent from 1994 levels on agriculture property and owner-occupied homes.

"We have finished the mission," Janklow said. "It's $122 million of checks that weren't coming six years ago."

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