Senator Larry Tidemann (R-7/Brookings) and Rep. Dan Dryden (R/34-Rapid City) are barking up the small schools' tree again. Last year Sen. Tidemann and Rep. Dryden floated a bill to eliminate the small-school adjustment from state funding for students from "big" schools who open-enroll in small schools. That bill failed... so they're trying again this year with Senate Bill 197. Basically, the bill says that each in the state should receive the amount of funding determined by the state aid formula for the district in which he or she lives, not the district he or she chooses to attend.
Superintendent James Cutshaw of Wolsey-Wessington offered strong testimony last year to the Senate Education committee to explain that open-enrollees often come with greater educational needs that require greater effort from the receiving school. The small-school adjustment makes up for that difference... although it is interesting to consider then whether we ought to keep that small-school adjustment for higher-need students who open enroll from a small district to a large one.
But really, should the Legislature be sweating where open-enrollees live? The small-school adjustment exists because we assume it costs more per student to run a school in a small district than a large district. That added cost does not depend on whether a student comes to Wolsey-Wessington because Mom and Dad moved to Wolsey or because Mom and Dad live in Huron but want their child to have a different academic setting. SB 197 leaves this assumption and increased funding intact for sparse school districts, which makes pretty clear that SB 197 is another punitive measure intended to tamp down the competition some small school districts pose to nearby large school districts for "their" students.
Get serious, legislators. If you don't like open enrollment, just ban open enrollment. But let's not play these petty games to punish any school districts for offering opportunities that parents find more beneficial than what's offered at their current school districts.