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South Dakota

April 6, 2006

House Bill 1160: An Act to Provide State Funding for Public-school at Home Programs

Sponsor:
Representatives Brunner, Elliott, Hackl, Hennies, Hills, Lange, McCoy, Nelson, Novstrup, Rave, Roberts, Schafer, Street, Tornow, and Weems and Senators Kooistra and Nesselhuf.

Summary:
Educating a child whose "school" is in his own home costs only a fraction of what it costs to pay for the education of a student attending a conventional brick-and-mortar school. This bill would allow the public schools to deliver the lower-cost education to homeschoolers but would force taxpayers to pay the high cost associated with attending a brick and mortar school. This would be a fiscal disaster for the state and taxpayers already struggling with rising property taxes.

Status:

01/20/2006 First Read In House and Referred to House Education.
01/31/2006House Education Amendment (1160ca).
01/31/2006Education Do Pass Amended Passed, Yeas 10, Nays 3.
02/08/2006 House of Representatives Motion To Amend Passed.
02/08/2006House of Representatives Do Pass Amended Passed, Yeas 37, Nays 33.
02/08/2006 Intent to Reconsider.
02/09/2006 House of Representatives Reconsidered Passed, Yeas 38, Nays 29.
02/09/2006House of Representatives Motion To Amend Passed Amendment (1160oa).
02/09/2006 House of Representatives Do Pass Amended Failed, Yeas 32, Nays 36.
02/09/2006Intent to Reconsider.
02/10/2006House of Representatives Reconsider Failed. The Bill Died.

HSLDA's Position:
Oppose.

Action Requested:
None requested at this time.

Background:

1. The other bill that is part of the package to create this plan is H.B. 1236. We have already explained why this bill should be opposed. If someone tells you H.B. 1160 has nothing to do with virtual schools, explain to them that this bill will fund the virtual schools created under H.B. 1236. H.B. 1160 has a superficial appearance of reasonableness because it calls for funding in proportion to the number of classes a student signs up for. However, the proportionality is based on the full per-pupil cost of a student at a brick-and-mortar school, not the far lower cost of educating a student whose "school" is in the home.

2. HSLDA recently surveyed six full-service on-line high school programs which included books, computer programs, a full course load, test grading and transcript service, and full access to teachers. The average cost was about $2,000. H.B. 1160 would fund the plan at more than twice that level.

3. In other states where public-school-at-home programs have been created, the schools have heavily or exclusively recruited among homeschool families to fill their program. Therefore, private homeschooling, which was previously free to the taxpayer, becomes expensive taxpayer funded public school in the home.

4. In Alaska, parent-directed home education has nearly ceased to exist because of public-school-at-home programs. In fact, approximately 80% of homeschoolers are now government homeschoolers. The main homeschool conventions are government run and the largest homeschool newsletter is government produced. Of course, the speakers and newsletter are not allowed to mention God or Christianity.

5. Public-school-at-home programs initially lure homeschool families by the promise of certain "freebies" such as free curriculum and laptop computers. Also, your children will no longer be considered private homeschool students, but rather public school students. This means you waive certain parental rights and agree to homeschool according to the public school's rules. In other states with similar "virtual" charter school programs, HSLDA has observed that more and more regulations are gradually placed on the homeschooler each year.

Please read the articles on virtual charter schools on our website.

 Other Resources

Feb.-10-2006—South Dakota—Proposal Turns Homeschoolers into Public School Students

Bill Text

Bill History