Backpack Bill FAQs
How much money follows each child?
For students who opt in to the program, the state will fund their ESA with a scholarship amounting to $5500 for students in grades K-8 and $7500 for students in grades 9-12.
Is there an income threshold to access the Backpack Bill?
No, every K-12 student in South Dakota is eligible for a Backpack Scholarship. School choice programs reduces the cost of educating students, so no matter what a family earns, the bill is a good deal for the state, students, and taxpayers.
What if the child is homeschooled?
Any homeschool student who opts in the program is eligible for a Backpack Scholarship.
What if the child chooses to enroll in a public school?
Public and community school students’ per pupil allocation from the state would follow them to their public school, just like they currently do.
What happens to local property tax under the Backpack Bill?
The Backpack Bill does not affect local or federal educational tax revenues. One hundred percent of those funds will continue to go to the local public school district. And since the entirety of local and federal revenues, combined with the per pupil allocation from the state for those enrolled in that district, will be funding a smaller number of students, the actual per pupil revenue received by public districts will likely increase.
about the bill
The Backpack Bill empowers families to choose the educational option that best meets their needs. The Backpack Bill ties state resources to the student so that South Dakota funds students and teachers, instead of buildings and bureaucrats.
The Backpack Bill is an innovative funding mechanism for students that will provide a state-funded Educational Savings Account (ESA) to every South Dakota K-12 student who opts into the program. The student may use these ESA funds for authorized educational expenses, including tuition at a private school of their choice or homeschooling expenses.
Click below to find out more about the Backpack Bill, what it is, why it's needed, how much money follows the child, if there is an income threshold, how it works for homeschooling, private or public school, and what happens to local property tax.
Every child is unique, and families should be empowered to choose the best educational setting to meet their child’s needs. At the same time, the Backpack Bill ensures that South Dakota maintains strong funding for community and public schools.
Click below for more details on dispelling backpack bill myths with facts and examples of school choice success.
research and facts
The overwhelming weight of research demonstrates a positive effect from school choice programs. Click below for a summary of much of the research and links to some of the actual studies.