Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School



In 1963, the South Dakota State Legislature passed a supplemental portion to the minimum foundation law. This section of the law1 provides support to school districts on a formula of equalization base on an individual school district’s need and effort. The law limits the amount of equalization support distribution to $2,000,000. In 1963, when the law was passed, foundation payment computations were not available on every district. Information necessary to evaluate the foundation program became available to educators and legislators in 1964 when payment were computed to districts for the first time. Problems in the mechanics of the formula became apparent through different ways. First, as state totals became available, comparisons were made and questions such as this were asked: In a program based on need (classroom units) and local tax effort, why do common districts receive nearly one-half of the total equalization payments?2 Common districts have only seventeen percent of the total enrollment and have an average mill levy of 16.77 mills compared to 31.84 mills for independent districts.3 Upon examination of the correspondence of the Director of Statistical Services of the Department of Public Instruction other problems were found. Although problems came to the surface, they were not formally documented. In March, 1966, the Assistant Superintendent of the Department of Public Instruction requested the Director of Statistical Services to study6 the minimum foundation program for the purpose of documenting its problems and recommending possible solutions. The purpose of this study is to: 1. Outline the major concepts of the equalization section of South Dakota’s minimum foundation program and present them in a formula so that an analysis of the problems outlined above can be made; and 2. Provide legislators and educators with a documented review of some specific changes which could be made to strengthen South Dakota’s minimum foundation program law and other laws which are affected by it or indirectly affect it.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Education -- South Dakota
Government aid to eduction -- South Dakota




South Dakota State University