Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

In South Dakota, local taxpayers foot more than half of the public K-12 schools bill.
In South Dakota, local taxpayers foot more than half of the public K-12 schools bill.
South Dakota Dashboard Tableau Public Chart
June 10, 2015

EDUCATION DATA: Local Taxes Cover Over Half of SD K-12 Funding; State Less Than Third

State spending for South Dakota’s public K-12 schools covers less than a third of the cost of education while local taxpayers pay more than half the bill, according to a South Dakota Dashboard analysis of recently released federal data.

South Dakota ranks almost dead last in state-level funding and lags every neighboring state for total per-pupil spending, the data shows.Education.Series.logo3

In 2013, South Dakota ranked 49th among the 50 states for per-pupil spending from the state level, which was $3,131 per student. At the same time, local property taxpayers ponied up $5,461 per student, ranking South Dakota 18th for public-school support from local taxpayers. South Dakota ranks 6th for federal support, which was $1,495 per pupil in 2013 (the most recent year for which nationwide data is available.)

In total, South Dakota spent more than $1.1 billion on public K-12 schools in 2013, with $712 million (54 percent) coming from local taxes, $408 million (31 percent) from the state level and $195 million (15 percent) from the federal level.

In addition, South Dakota ranks last among all neighboring states for total per-pupil spending, including local, state and federal sources. In 2013, total per-pupil spending was $10,087, placing the state 41st among the 50 states. Neighboring Wyoming ranked sixth and spent $18,498 with $9,626 coming from the state level.


Here's a look at the national ranking for per-pupil spending in the remaining neighboring states:

  • No. 16 North Dakota spent $13,478 with $6,784 from the state level

  • No. 18 Minnesota spent $13,340 with $8,464 from the state level

  • No. 21 Nebraska spent $12,514 with $4,014 from the state level

  • No. 24 Iowa spent $12,072 with $6,243 from the state level

  • No. 29 Montana spent $11,566 with $5,521 from the state level

All data used in this release comes from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2013 Annual Survey of School System Finances.

Education Data Series

This look at K-12 funding in South Dakota is the first in a series of reports highlighting data specific to education statewide by the South Dakota Dashboard and the Black Hills Knowledge Network. The series will examine what the available data shows about education funding, practices and achievements both statewide and in individual school districts. To view other segments, see our Education Data Series Archive.

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